Top 10 Nurse Myths That Need To Go Away!

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

I recently was doing a little research for school when I realized there are some common and popular nurse/nursing myths out there. It seems there are two trains of thought: There is the public’s view of the nursing profession, and then there are those who actually know about the nursing profession. I’m not sure if it’s our own fault or if Hollywood has a stranglehold on the general population’s opinion. This particular top 10 list is intended for all those who are considering pursuing the profession of nursing–I’d like to call it the “Here’s what we are not and don’t do” list:

  1. We don’t wear all-white uniforms.
  2. No, we stopped wearing caps a long time ago.
  3. We do more than pass medications.
  4. We do more than just clean up “poo.”
  5. This is not Grey’s Anatomy – we’re not secretly sleeping with all the doctors. Nor is this House – we do the blood draws.
  6. No, not every “nurse” is the same. There is a profound difference between a Nurse Practitioner and a Nursing Assistant (about 6-8 years of education).
  7. We actively collaborate in the decision-making process and don’t just take orders.
  8. No, we are not all women.
  9. No, we work in other places besides hospitals and physicians’ offices.
  10. No, we didn’t fail at becoming doctors. We chose this profession.

I know, I know, we’ve beat this horse senseless, haven’t we? I have to admit, I am just scratching the surface here. I think we all could generate an endless list of nursing urban legends. What would you add? Share in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.



  1. I’m going back 40+ years ago when working the night shift at a teaching hospital- I asked a med student who was reviewing charts if he would help me with something. (I had to move a very large patient and need a hand). He jumped up quickly and said “sure”. Then I explained what I wanted and he instantly deflated. I told him he didn’t have to help. He said it wasn’t that- he was upset because he thought he was going to find out how easy it was to have sex with nurses on the night shift as he had been told in school. I just laughed and laughed as I was preparing meds, charting answering lights etc,

  2. I just wonder what made Katherine-or any one else gor that matter- go through all the education that is involved in becoming a nurse, all of the “people” time you have to deal with as a student, at clinical, in class, while precepting – yet not wanting ANY type of patient contact at all? I understand that there are nursing jobs out there where the only patient contact you have is by what you read in a chart. Yet, to have gone through your career with NO personal contact with the REAL PERSON on the other side of that chart? Or have patient contact for part of your career, yet not wanting it or liking it at all? Seems a bit sad – yet that is only my opinion. Everyone have a good day.

  3. No we do not all keep a secret stash of meds to give out I don’t have any antibiodics or whatever’s and no I cannot diagnose and cure over the phone no one gave me a magic wand when I became a nurse

  4. I get this less frequently now as compared to 20 yes ago. People ask me if I am a male Nurse. I look them straight in the eye and with a very calm voice answer: “YES, I am a male Nurse. The last time I checked was this morning. Don’t let them bother you. If they get testy I reply, I studied for 6+ yrs. to be your Nurse, BSN. I will even save your life if need be, your welcome! JLG 🙂

  5. Unfortunately some go into this profession because of the myths they believe. I have been a nurse long enough to remember the white uniforms (dresses especially) and I recieved a cap when I graduated, however it was only worn once a year when the hospital would do a “wear your cap to work” day. I was proud to be a nurse and I felt professional. I also miss looking like a nurse and not like everyone else. Currently everyone looks the same from housekeeping to surgeons. The poor patients have no idea who to ask for medications from. I just have old fashioned preferences, no offense to those who prefer the modern preference.

    • ” The poor patients have no idea who to ask for medications …”
      In Massachusetts and I expect many other places the largest letters on the i.d. badges,

      large enough that my 71 Y/O eyes can clearly see them are job titles or professional
      license abbreviations such as ‘RN.” When I am a patient I look at these i.d. badges and
      sometimes I even call the people by name. Also as a patient nurses, doctors phlebotomists and others often introduce themselves to me.

      ” looking like a nurse” sounds like a greta thing. Not knowing who yuor nurse is
      sounds to me ….unlikely. Many hospital rooms near me have white boards where there
      is a permanent ” Your Nurse is” and the nurses will sign in each shift.

    • In elementary school I to
      hought that the seemingly starched ( a word I did not know yet ) of nurses
      on television were likely sterile ( a word I did not yet know either).

      Long before nursing school I when I had an idea of wjat sterile was

      I knew that cloting at least any clothing being worn was far from

      When I was a clinical instructor a student ( now a psych NP and a fascinating person then and now ) said that the all- white uniforms I wore ( for no particular reason)
      made me look ” old and institutional .” My first response ( I was in my late 50s perhaps )
      was that ” I am old.” Later some students gave me as end-of-term gifts a purple scrub set in a clor much like the colors of their school

  6. Nursing for me was not a calling. I went into it for a paycheck. I am not a nurse 24 hours a day. I play a role Monday thru Friday from 9 to 5 and not a minute before or after. In an emergency, I will do what any lay person with a knowledge of first aid will do. I am not interested in listening to a monologue of your health issues in a social situation. No one is special to me. I treat everyone the same. I cannot tolerate adult patient care. I found my perfect role using my degree. I read charts, research and write. No patient contact. Adults, especially adult men like Ken Huber think they are fascinating and interesting. An assessment I do not share. Ken, I am thrilled you would not have me as your nurse (another N word). I have never entertained the idea and never would.

    • Katherine I suspect that you are happy in your chosen role and I wish you well.
      Many nurses do view nursing as a calling. That is probably not a bad thing for
      most of them. I hope that their somewhat different view points do not bother you.
      Your choices certainly do not bother me – and I respect them.

      For every adult male ( and there are quite a few somewhat older women who share this propensity in my experience ) who wants to give you their medical history in detail there may be five or ten who do not have this predisposition usually because even those who are somewhat self-centered do not think mmuch about their medical history. The father of one of my wife’s best friends ( a pediatrician now gone to his reward ) said partly in jest said ” Never ask an old person how he is feeling , because
      he ( and she) will tell you.”

    • Probably so I suppose. Also assigning psychiatric diagnoses to people one has never ( and likely will never ) meet may be pointless and can come across as
      ….arrogant ?

      On re-reading your post I realized that I do think that I am fascinating and certainly interesting.
      But my hold on reality is strong enough that I realize that those beside me who see it that way are pretty much limited to my wife and on occasion a few friends of long standing – in moderate doses. I am quite aware that our son does not see me as fascinating – and perhaps he is right , not I.

    • Katherine, I know that what follows does not apply to you , and probably not even to
      Vince Lombardi , of whom it was said.

      Jerry Kramer a guard who played for the Green Bay Packers under the legendary
      Vince Lombardi said that ” He treats us all alike – like dogs.”

  7. I have heard it all my life.”nurses know”. Men, especially in my younger college days and early hospital days thought because we studied anatomy that we were good for “pleasing” men. How insulting.

  8. Not all nurses are gay. Not that there is anything wrong with being gay but it’s an odd presumption. I had a few amusing and uncomfortable conversations with patients and their families.

  9. Myth: It’s okay to assault us. We are used to it.

    Fact: We are trained to care for you and will attempt to help you. We will NOT tolerate abuse of any kind and will react as necessary to protect those in our care which includes the patients & myself.

  10. Nurses are NOT your sexual grab toy.
    I’ve had my butt pinched, breasts grabbed; privates grabbed at when giving care to males patients (with unofficial diagnosis of “DOMS” – Dirty Old Man Syndrome – it doesn’t matter if they are young or old). They’ve done it in front of their wives and families; and, then they think it’s funny and/or ‘cute’.


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