In order to effectively advocate for health issues and the nursing profession, the public needs to understand what nurses do. However many people still do not know the vast range of activities nurses perform.
This summer, many of us will gather with friends and family for BBQs. We will eat, talk, laugh and share. Inevitably, at some point the conversation will turn to work. Many of you will make a comment about something you have done at work as a nurse and the inevitable response will be “nurses do that???”
Despite campaigns to raise the profile of nurses, I find many people still do not know what we do. Considering the wide scope of our practice, and the diversity of roles, this is understandable. Add on to that TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and it’s no wonder people are confused about what we do.
Here are a few things that have surprised my family and friends about RNs:
- we can pronounce death (in certain circumstances)
- we get to choose which medication to give (the concept of PRNs was quite fascinating) For the non-nurses: PRNs are a list of medications that have been ordered for the patient and are to be given “as needed”. These medications range from pain relief to medications to slow a patient’s racing heart.
- not only that we can, but that we should question a physicians order if we are unclear or unsure if it is appropriate
- that if I give an unsafe medication, I am liable for that, even if the physician ordered it
What are some things that have surprised your family and friends about your role as an RN?
Nickie Snyder is an ICU RN for Fraser Health and also helps with their new graduate nurse workshops. A dual Canadian/US citizen, Nickie lives in the US, works in Canada, completed her undergraduate degree in nursing in Canada and is currently enrolled in a combined Masters and Doctorate of Nursing Practice program at the University of Washington. Nickie plans on becoming a Nurse Practitioner, and hopes to teach nursing as well. Dynamic, energetic, and passionate about nursing, Nickie loves to share about her experiences and advocate for the nursing profession. She is also a social media addict and can be found at www.twitter.com/missnickie