The gender imbalance in nursing, our nation’s largest profession, is a slow-to-change and complex problem steeped in stereotypes, economics, unconscious bias, power, and privilege in health care and society. Along with other diversity gaps in the nursing workforce, gender imbalance is another missing piece to achieving the highest quality patient care. Solving the gender imbalance could accelerate the profession in reaching its full potential. Diversity improves quality Addressing the gender gap represents ...

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It’s an odd thing doing what I do sometimes.  Dichotomies of highs and lows, life and death, joy and sorrow.  In the past 15 years that I have been in health care -- a nurse’s assistant, to registered nurse, to now pediatric nurse practitioner -- I have had the strange experience of all this emotion.  It wasn’t until recently, maybe because I have a family of my own now, that ...

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My anger rises when I see the TV "nurse" with her short white dress and her breasts spilling over her pronounced cleavage and her submissive voice speaking to this muscular male MD. Her quick giggle and pretentious demeanor is a stereotype portrayed across the land. And the reality of what we really do goes unnoticed. We have people shouting: "Bring me a coke!" "A blanket, hurry up!" "The food is too cold ... the food ...

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I was an RN for more than 40 years and am now retired. As a recent hospital patient, I documented my experiences. This resulted in a letter to nurses everywhere. *** Dear Nurse, Please be kind to me. I am frightened, alone, and in pain. I am way out of my comfort zone and need every bit of encouragement you have to offer. I arrived at the emergency room a short while ago, was ...

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Earlier this year, I asked a group of nurses what gifts doctors could give that would help them know they are appreciated. There were hundreds of comments that included many I expected: Food (pizza, chocolate, cake, tacos, bourbon, Starbucks, healthy snacks), pens, cash, and/or gift cards for all shifts. There were some interesting “high end” ideas: Massages or a massage chair. Trips. Cars. Stethoscopes. Some still make me shake my head and ...

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Dear hospital, The last three years, I have had the pleasure of working in our state's renowned emergency department and level-1 trauma center. My departure closes out a decade of my nursing career as an emergency room and flight nurse. This department — the staff, in particular — will forever hold a very special place in my heart. I leave with a great amount of respect and thanks for this exceptional ...

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Recently I visited a lady at her home who was a palliative care patient. She was seated on the couch in the living room with a turban on her head and a look of anxiety and depression. Her husband was quiet during the entire visit. He was seated in a chair next to the couch and just looked at his wife and did not participate in the conversation. Her son ...

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Can you let things roll off your shoulders? Are you the tough, no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is, stand-your-ground type? Do you show up to work no matter what? Has no one ever seen you cry at work? Are these things resilience? We nurses openly divulge the issues that make us leave the bedside, even amid a vast shortage of nurses. Professional organizations report these issues, and academic, and research institutes aggregate data for a convenient ...

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If you went to go to a museum in New York City and saw a live heart encased in glass, still pumping and pulsating — it would be my heart, shredded into a thousand pieces all in disarray. But it still would be pulsating. This describes my life as a nurse. Nursing was a vacuum that sucked me dry and left me dangling with nothing more to give. Three years left ...

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In 1976, we couldn't wait to be nurses. Our starched white dresses with the nurse caps and stripes symbolized our graduation status as we were called one by one to receive our diploma and a rose. We took an oath to care for the sick, to be professional, to critically think, to respect doctors and to respect patients and family members. And to respect each other. It was the age before computers. We ...

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This article is about learning to protect yourself and your standard of living as a nurse. Now that I am considered a seasoned nurse, I have concluded that there are many essential aspects of the nursing profession that are not discussed during nursing school. It is a shame because many of these topics should be discussed so that new nurses can prepare themselves for issues that may and often occur ...

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Every time I hear that there is a nursing shortage in America, I feel myself cringe. There is not a shortage of nurses in America. There is a shortage of nurses who choose to work at the bedside. There is a reason, and it is called post-traumatic stress disorder. Medically, we have learned that PTSD can occur after a single event or as a result of chronic stressors for a period ...

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Washington state Sen. Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Walla) became a national headline for alleging that "[nurses] probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day” during debate on legislation mandating break periods. Many nurses have mailed decks of cards to Walsh and posted pictures of blood-spattered emergency department walls in order to call attention to “last night’s card game,” driving home the point that they aren’t “playing” anything ...

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I have to work tonight. It’s Saturday. And I don’t want to go in. It’s springtime, the skies are blue, birds chirping, and the flowers show off their magnificent colors. But it’s Saturday. And along comes being a nurse. We have mandatory weekends, mandatory holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving and Easter and Independence Day and Memorial Day. Mandatory. And even on my day off when I get a real nights sleep, I think ...

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I was 5 years old on a busy New York City street with my mom, dad, and two sisters. A large man in shabby clothes holding a garbage bag in his hand stood on the corner waiting for the light to change. My dad reached into his wallet and handed the stranger a $20 bill, patted him on the shoulder, and said, "Have a good day, my man." Dad knew everybody — ...

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Senator Walsh ... thank you. Because of your flagrant words against some of the hardest-working members of our medical community, we have united to stand against you and rally for our "card-playing" nurses. Like most of my medical family, I was astounded and frustrated at the belittling ignorance of Senator Walsh's recent comments about the amazing nurses throughout our great country. Senator Walsh's comments were felt not only by our hard-working nurses, ...

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“I would submit to you that those (small hospital nurses) probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.” - Maureen Walsh For the first ten years of my professional life, I was an inpatient nurse, first on a surgery floor and later in an ICU. After working three shifts in a row, I learned that I’d need to to spend a day recuperating. I called ...

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I became a nurse at the age of 23. I was pregnant with my first son and dove into nursing headfirst, accepting a job in the pediatric ICU of the hospital where I worked. I still remember the call when I received the job offer. I hung up and jumped up and down, screaming in excitement. I couldn’t believe that I got my dream job, the job that wove my ...

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I started my medical career late. Really late. By that time, I’d lived a few lives. I’d earned a boatload of initials. I’d changed husbands, languages, and continents. I’d written a useless novel, and I’d been a Mary Kay lady. One day over lunch as I was looking for something to do with myself, my husband suggested medicine. I spent the next nine years immersed in my medical training, feeling guilty ...

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Florence Nightingale was among the first nurses who started wearing a nurse’s cap. The cap was derived by nuns and represented those caring for the sick. Hair was neatly tightened into a bun and covered by the cap. Back then becoming a nurse was typically seen as a female profession, but men were allowed to become nurses too. In 1930, only one percent of RNs nationwide were male. Growing up in the 1950s ...

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