4 Negative Nursing Stereotypes (and Why They’re Not True)

5 Negative Nursing Stereotypes (and Why They're Not True)On Monday, we talked about all the fuss that MTV’s Scrubbing In started with nurses from around the nation.

And although we’ve covered some hospital myths in the past, we thought it couldn’t hurt to piggyback off of our post about Scrubbing In and take the time to address a few nursing stereotypes (and why they’re not true).

Here are a few of the most common stereotypes in nursing–and why they couldn’t be further from the truth:

  1. Girls Only
    This is a very common nursing stereotype. Let’s be honest, not all nurses are female. The fact of the matter is, regardless of your gender, if you want to help care for people, then nothing should stop you from doing that. There are plenty of men in nursing, a profession that has come a long ways in the last few decades. To see more, check out our detailed post on men in nursing.
  2. The Dumb Nurse
    Spread largely by the fact that there are very rarely nurses in movies or on television in medical dramas, a very negative stereotype is one that suggests that nurses are nurses because they’re “too dumb to be physicians”. Unfortunately, the dumb nurse stereotype sticks because people don’t really understand how different the professions are. We can assure you that nurses are very intelligent–even if you don’t see them much on TV.
  3. The Doctor’s Assistant
    We probably could’ve tacked this one onto the dumb nurse stereotype, but this is so common that it definitely deserves to be a stereotype on its own. People often assume that nurses are nothing more than doctor’s assistants and that they work below MDs. In reality, nurses and doctors have two different skill sets and work side by side–not above or below one another. One RN outlines this distinction pretty well in a post on the AllNurses.com forum. You can check that out here.
  4. The Nurse Ratched
    We can thank Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, for this one. The complete opposite of the naughty nurse, Nurse Ratched is the, old and “sexless” battle-axe matron, whose cold outlook on patient care has been causing trouble for nurses since her appearance in the novel. This is pretty troublesome for the nursing profession, as many people falsely associate her character with real nurses. In reality, nurses are caring and compassionate–nothing like Nurse Ratched.

Stereotypes like these can be really disheartening, but don’t let them get you down. You know how big of an impact you make in people’s lives daily, and you have the knowledge and skills required to do your job–and that set you apart from other medical professionals.

Although we wish that these stereotypes would go away overnight, that’s probably not going to happen. So instead, as medical professionals, we all can work together to show–not tell–the world that stereotypes like these are nothing more than out-of-date myths.

photo credit: Christiana Care via photopin cc

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