Navigating Nursing Perceptions: Scrubs, Education, and Degrees

The nursing profession is viewed by the public in many different ways. Some people have the idea that a nurse in the hospital is the same nurse that is shown on television shows as the flighty or sexy nurse in a white uniform, cap and high heels. Others see nurses as the source of all information. (Dickerson, 2015). Many factors can influence the public's perception of nursing. If a person or their family has been previously hospitalized, they may use those interactions to form an opinion.

The public may see the nurse as 'the person in charge' or as 'the girl who hung my IV' (Dickerson, 2015). Each different interaction with nurses can leave a lasting impression. Another factor that influences the public perception of nursing are the scrubs uniform nurses wear. While scrubs are appropriate attire in most hospital settings, it can send a message that does not support the nursing profession's desire to be recognized as professional.

What other professions that serve the public have cartoon characters on their uniforms? (McLaren, 2014) Education to the public on the professional nurse's role can come in many ways.

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The nurse can use every opportunity with each interactions with the public to present a strong self image. The nurse can tell people what role they play at their job such as helping with procedures. This can help people understand the nurse's skill level and area of expertise. Nurses can speak out on current issues in the changing health care system. This allows the public to see that nurses are committed healthcare professions.

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An example of this is when the American Nurses Association (ANA) advocated on behalf of a Navy nurse who declined on ethical grounds to participate in force-feeding detainees at Guantanamo Bay. ("Let’s take the lead, " 2016).

The path to obtaining either an associates (ADN) or baccalaureate (BSN) degree in nursing are different in many ways.The ADN program is two years in length while the BSN program is four years long. While both programs prepare a nurse to provide care from a core curriculum, a BSN program places a greater emphasis on topics such as research and informatics. Premier institutions such as academic healthcare organizations and magnet hospitals tend to want BSN nurses. Organizations that seek magnet status look at nurse sensitive indicators and it is widely accepted that the quality of nursing care affects outcome ("ADN/BSN, " 2018).

Magnet hospitals generally do not hire ADNs. Most ADN programs teach nursing students the fundamentals and basics of nursing, such as creating care plans and performing everyday nursing skills and are more task oriented. The ADN programs are training bedside nurses for secondary care settings, such as community hospitals and long-term care facilities. ADN programs are becoming harder and harder to find as more hospitals are putting a dead line of 2020 for all RNs to obtain their BSN.

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Navigating Nursing Perceptions: Scrubs, Education, and Degrees. (2020, May 14). Retrieved from

Navigating Nursing Perceptions: Scrubs, Education, and Degrees
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