Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nurses are NOT angels

So I go back to school in a couple of weeks. I am actually kind of excited, tired of working all the nursing home shifts. After graduating, most people are happy to never have to study ever again. I think that I am definitely going to miss it. This semester looks pretty good so far; I have no classes on Friday! Which means a long weekend, every week.

Anyways, I was reading an interesting article written by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario that was published in the Registered Nurse Journal. The author discussed how we should put an end to nurses being labeled angels. Being called an angel sounds like a compliment. But I am not a good nurse because I have angelic virtue, I am a good nurse because I studied hard in nursing school and because I care about my work. Similarily, I did not choose nursing because I had a higher calling to do so, I chose nursing because I love working with and helping other people. Does the steretype of an angelic nurse encourage males to enter the nursing profession? Probably not.


  1. I enjoy reading your blog and am in almost the same boat as you are regarding school. After more than 6 years being an LPN I am starting the RN program next week. However, I would like to add that it is not us nurses that have given us this label. It is the patients who percieve of us in this way. I certainly dont believe that being called an "angel" by a patient denotes a good nurse. I have seen many nurses that I wouldnt want taking care of me called a nurse by at least one patient. Sometimes we have patients that are really sick and feel (whether they are or not) that they are truly at death's door. The nurse that night could do a very simple thing and to them it is a life-saving measure. That is why they call us nurses. Or even taking a little extra time out of our busy day to sit with them gives us that angel status.
    When my father passed away in 2001 there was a nurse who stood in a roomful of family mourning, waiting for the end to finally come (and dreading it all the same) just to turn off the alarm when it sounded. I have always thought of her as an angel. I doubt she would even remember the time or if she would claim angel status herself.
    In fact I cant think of one nurse who gives herself that angel status. It is almost always bestowed by patients or family members and sometimes is not even known by the nurse herself.
    I have also seen many nurses called angels by their patients who were male. I am not sure that any of us have entered the field for the angel label, like you most of us are here because we love working with and helping people.
    We as a profession could try to stamp this label out but we would be wasting our time. Many patients will always think of us as angels.
    So I guess what this long ramble is trying to say is that sometimes we are angels not of our own call but in the eyes of that one patient who was hurting and received a new order for pain med. This does not show how good of a nurse you are but it does say a lot about the compassion one holds.

  2. i guess i had never looked at it that way. Thanks for a different view of it


Thank you! All your comments are really appreciated.