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The "Nurses are Angels" Myth

The "Nurses are Angels" Myth

Marijke Durning | NursingLink

October 19, 2010

If nurses are considered angels and supposed to be all that they stand for, how can nurses expect back-up when the workplace is less than heavenly? How can they get support for demands for better work conditions and better pay?

Angels are gentle, quiet, and ever-present. But nurses can’t be that way. Sometimes a nurse has to be assertive, loud, and aggressive when the situation warrants it. That’s not how angels behave.

Nurses Are Selfless

When someone is selfless, it implies they have no self-interest, no concerns other than that of anyone else. Of course, in a professional context, nurses should only be thinking about the patient as their advocate. But this doesn’t make a nurse selfless.

Nurses need to take that break in the middle of the day to regroup, recover, and avoid burnout. Nurses need to take time off to take care of their needs. Nurses have to call in sick when they are sick – for themselves and for the ill patients around them. Maybe it’s this selfless notion that makes it so easy for others to dump on nurses sometimes, forcing overtime, refusing to believe sick calls, and denying requests for days off.

Just as we rebel naughty nurse stereotypes or sexy nurse fantasies, we need to negate the angelic nurse concept as well. Nurses are just like any other working professional. The only difference between us and other workers is that we are privy to some of the most intimate details of someone’s life. We touch people, literally and figuratively. But we’re human. That’s all we are.

Next: 5 Nursing Stereotypes Debunked >>

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  • Picture_016_max50


    about 4 years ago


    I have been single since my divorce more than 15 years ago. Why? When men find out I am a nurse, this is EXACTLY how they expect me to be. I tell them that this has always been my philosophy: Work is the place you go to do your job to the best of your ability to get the money you need to live your life. Work doesn't define who you are. That is personal. It freaks them out!!! Honestly!!! I am supposed to be selfless and giving and offering to run and fetch and do for them (according to them) and it is inconceiveable that I should want anyone to do anything for me!! I used to ask if they were for real, but they are conditioned to this stereotype, so they feel lke something must be wrong with me!!! aaaarrrrrrggggghhhh!!!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Staffing shorages abound as we know on a daily basis.. The is to make the universe fly into a glass of lemonade..Smile, wink, shug your nose and say something totally it's quoted in "Point of No Return", "I never did mind about the little things." ...and SMILE.....

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