Fact & Fiction About Registered Nurses
Fiction: Nurses are assistants to doctors
Fact: We are actually equal partners in health care, each with a separate and unique yet vital role. One is not an elevated version of the other. Nurses work to keep you healthy and well, helping you to heal when necessary, providing you comfort and care, supporting you at the end of your life, and bringing new life into the world.
Fiction: Most nurses work in hospitals.
Fact: Only about half of all nurses work in hospitals. The rest work in varied settings such as public health, schools, corporations, pharmaceutical companies, wellness centres, law firms, law-enforcement agencies and government agencies, just to name a few. Nurses also work doing health research, setting health-care policy, running not-for-profit and government health agencies, as health care facility administrators, and managing technology and patient-care data.
Fiction: Doctors are the only experts in health care.
Fact: Nurses are health-care experts in their own right. Much of their work involves health teaching to patients and family members. Examples include: Teaching an adolescent (and his/her family) who is newly diagnosed with diabetes how to monitor blood sugar, inject themselves with insulin, prevent complications and so on; working closely with a man who has recently had a heart attack to prepare him for the physical and emotional challenges of his medical condition while returning home and continuing his recovery and rehabilitation; instructing first-time parents how to care for their newborn; providing grief counselling and support to family members of loved ones who are dying or have passed away. These are just a few examples.
Nurses also have expertise in wound care, minimizing the risk of infections, avoiding and treating skin ulcers, managing continence, managing chronic illness, maintaining and attaining health and well-being, providing comfort care and counselling.