As I said in my introduction to who I am, I went on to get my BS and MA in Psychology and I also fell in love with a psychologist. I thought he was the most important person in the world. I don’t mean because he was the man I loved, but because he was a psychologist. I thought that what he did for work was the most important work in the world and that what he does was by far more important than what I did as a nurse.
I was working in ICU as a nurse, but I really wanted to work as a psychologist. I remember even saying to him numerous times that I wished that I was as important as he was. I did not feel any self worth as a nurse even though as I look back on it, I was saving lives everyday at work. I felt like I was nothing. He was because he was a psychologist. He of course did not agree with me and tried to get me to see how important my work was.
Again, this goes back to earlier times in nursing when nurses were not seen as important in what they did. I remember in my early days as a nurse being extremely subserviant to physicians. I remember being told as a student and as a young graduate nurse, that when a doctor came into the nurse’s station that we were to get up from the chair we were sitting and let the physician sit, even if we were doing paperwork. This is just one example. The are many examples of how we were put down and made to feel like we were not important.
Patients felt that we were important and were grateful for the care we gave them, but nurses did not feel that way about themselves and their peers. This is something that was ingrained in us. Things have changed somewhat, but I bet that if you really probed deep enough you would find that nurses still feel the same. Why else would they put up with all that they do?
Nurses need to become empowered. How does one do that when they feel like they do? That is something that nurses need to work on as a group. Nursing administration and leaders need to become in involved in this too. Nurses are sorely needed to meet the needs of patients, but if nurses continue to leave the field who is going to take care of the ill. Support is needed and nurses need to be rewarded and need to reward themselves.