Stock Photo Nurses Vs. Real Nurses

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

If anybody’s got it easy, it’s stock photo nurses.

Sure, they all have really white teeth, which makes them pretty nice to look at, but when it comes to an accurate portrayal of nursing, they’re far from close.

Just how far, you ask?

Good question. To find the answer, we revisited several stock photo scenarios (with total acknowledgment that we’ve used them before) and made an attempt to pinpoint a more realistic counterpart.

Here’s what we came up with.

1. Judging by nurse stock photos, nursing school is particularly clean, and not at all boring—even though the professor is gesturing toward an empty white board. So logically, there’s just not all that much that nurses need to learn.

In fact, the very best part of nursing school is studying for exams, because this isn’t a stressful or chaotic time at all.

Then there’s nursing school as full-fledged students and nurses know it:

2. Ah, lunch break. Apparently, not only do stock photo nurses get one, but they also have an outdoor lounge.

On the menu for today? Salmon with a side of greens—untouched because this nurse isn’t particularly hungry, since she’s already had many elaborate meals throughout the course of her shift. Fortunately, this leaves her time to coordinate an ever-expanding social life, full of people and engagements. With her feet up. 

Then there’s the real world, in which nurses are lucky if they catch three minutes to look for something edible in their bag and pockets.

Often, this “something” was once edible, but over the course of several days, that has changed….

3. Stock photo nurses love starting the workday—probably because it’s clearly not dark out and they’ve managed to sleep to the point of feeling refreshed.

And refreshed she is.

Stock photo nurses also end their day on a positive note—feeling calm, collected and flexible.

Desert settings are also readily available to them.

Real-world nurses, however, are no strangers to a 3am alarm. They also haven’t slept more than four hours since having purchased their first textbook in nursing school…six years ago.

Furthermore, at the end of the day, they’re not terribly interested in deep-breathing exercises:

4. Stock photo nurses always take a moment to sit down and talk through a patient’s diagnosis with stock photo doctors—who are more than happy to listen.

And stock photo doctors are always relieved and publicly acknowledge when a stock photo nurse prevents catastrophe using his or her own knowledge.

Now, real-world nurses are often wondering where the doctor could have possibly disappeared to for an hour and a half.

5. When stock photo nurses are having a particularly difficult day, it’s easy for them to privately experience and then assess their emotions before reaching a state of tranquility.

So much so that they don’t even bother to wear waterproof makeup.

On the other hand, real-world nurses have real trying days. And every so often, a spontaneous breakdown occurs (for no particular reason at all) that looks more like this:

Or this:

6. Stock photo nurses only see patients who are immensely grateful, kind and cooperative.

Did we mention adorable? Because they’re that, too.

Real-world nurses are constantly trying to explain to their patients that a web diagnosis is not official, and that their condition hasn’t improved because they refuse to take the medication prescribed during their last visit.

Or just kind of busy trying to avoid the patient in Room 3 who’s been labeled “a biter.”

7. And finally, stock photo nurses meet up with their stock photo nurse friends over the weekend to lounge on a beach, drink and laugh heartily.

Real-world nurses spend their weekends more like this:

Or this:

But that’s only because real-world nurses tend to exhaust themselves saving real-world lives, and we’re willing to wager that’s much more satisfying (and deserves a pizza).


This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

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