Nursing Notes

September 5, 2009

Nursing Students Check Their Biases | RNBuilder Nursing Blog

Filed under: Nursing — Shirley @ 12:58 am
Tags: , , , ,

This is an interesting blog I found.  I read several of the postings and really felt that this was good information about becoming a nurse.  I hope, after reading the post below, you will visit the link and read all of the good posts you can find there.  I know I will be back again to see what they post new.


Nursing school is an excellent time for self-reflection and awareness of your beliefs, fears, prejudices and any other thoughts or behaviors that you may not be aware of now, but have a good chance of rearing their ugly head later in your career when you least expect it.I know that all nursing students believe they are fair, just, open-minded, nurturing, unbiased, politically correct beacons of humanity. Yet somewhere between graduation day and years into their career, something happens and, in some nurses (not all), the cynicism switch is turned on.Whether the cause is career burnout, a cutting sense of humor that helps them survive their shift, or they’re just “going along with the crowd,” the once fresh faced, innocent nurse finds herself saying things that would have horrified her in nursing school. She finds herself labeling patients as “frequent flyers,” “drug seeking,” or sometimes worse depending on what she (or he) has heard from her colleagues.

One of the most common biases in health care is toward the elderly. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)* stated that “Some studies have indicated that medical students perceive older people as being dull, disagreeable, inactive, and economically burdensome.” Potentially damaging preconceived notions about elderly patients or patients from any specific age group, ethnicity or other demographic, are not confined to medical schools either.Nurses and nursing students need to examine their own beliefs and notions for potential warning signs. This is even more true of nurses, since they spend by far the most amount of time in direct contact with patients and also experience a great deal of stress related to heavy workloads. Times of stress have a way of acting like wine, in the sense that “in wine there is truth.”

It is far better to be honest with yourself now and prevent an embarrassing and potentially career threatening situation later.*

“Ageism in the Preclinical Years”; Catherine Caruthers McCray; University of Kansas School of Medicine; JAMA. 1998

Nursing Students Check Their Biases | RNBuilder Nursing Blog

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