Top 5 Myths About Nursing

Top 5 Myths About Nursing

Mar 21, 2015 | 10:00 am

It goes without saying that nurses no longer wear all-white uniforms, and they certainly aren’t just doctor’s helpers. These and other myths about nursing abound, but it’s important to know that nursing is a career all of its own, requiring knowledge of medical care and treatments that make it the time-honored profession it is today.

Myth #1: It’s easy to get a nursing job

Despite the much discussed nursing shortage (the one that just ended and the one on its way) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projected 19 percent employment growth rate for registered nurses (RNs) between 2012 and 2022, health care facilities seek qualified—and more than ever before, higher educated nurses. For this and other reasons, it’s important to stay flexible during the job search. According to research by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the need varies greatly by region, so the idea that it’s easy to find work in this profession is just one of the many myths about nursing.

Myth #2: All nurses work crazy hours

Yes, some nurses in hospital settings end up working night shifts, weekends and holidays. And yes, as The American Journal of Nursing points out, 12-hour shifts are becoming a reality of nursing for many, but not all nurses work in hospital settings. Non-clinical nurses who work in education, recruiting and healthcare information technology are examples of those with standard business hours (on average). Other nursing positions with normal hours include those in physicians’ offices and schools.

Myth #3: Once you become a nurse, you can fill any nursing role

While some nurses graduate from a one-year vocational program, becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), others seek out diplomas, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees to become RNs. You wouldn’t find LVNs managing RNs or working as Nurse Practitioners, which requires a master’s degree or higher. Not just that, but according to, there are 104 nursing specialties to choose from, each requiring different medical specialty training and experience.

Myth #4: Nursing is a female profession

This myth about nursing is growing old, but alas, some still have misconceptions. In 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that men made up 9.6 percent of the RN workforce, with 41 percent of them being nurse anesthetists. And not only are male nurses growing in number, but the Census Bureau also says they earn more than female nurses on average.

Myth #5: Nurses help; doctors lead

Again, just a myth. Nurses do help doctors and other nurses, but they also assess patients and proactively provide medical care as needed. RNs actively collaborate in the care plan of their patients with other medical professionals, and they are called to positions of leadership more than ever. Positions of management and supervision continue to emerge, as we find with roles such as Clinical Nurse Leader. In addition, Nurse Practitioners can work as patients’ primary healthcare provider—together or independent from a physician.

Whatever myths about nursing you may have heard, check the facts… you might be surprised about what nurses actually do!