January 3, 2019
If you hearken back to that inevitable conversation 10-year old you once had with your parent, teacher, or other role model figure, you can likely recall the first time you identified “what you wanted to be when you grew up.” Chances are little wide-eyed you had a host of fictional figures in mind when you rattled off job titles such as “Astronaut”, “Police Officer”, or perhaps “President of the world.” This future writer’s career of choice leaned more towards “maniacal supervillain who steals Superman’s ice castle”, but that’s a story for another article (and probably some therapy sessions).
As an easily influenced youngster, your future career choices were most likely influenced by pop culture or television portrayals of these iconic jobs. I mean, let’s face it, how many of us knew a real-life astronaut, or bald headed anti-hero for that matter, in our mundane daily lives. It more than makes sense, then, that if you chose nursing as a career path you were probably swayed by some of your favorite television shows and movies devoted to the field.
We hate to burst your idealistic bubble, but chances are Hollywood didn’t quite get the roles of the nursing profession right in their newest summer blockbuster. Ready to be educated? Read on as we delve into the fact and fiction of nursing jobs, according to Hollywood.
Nurse Knows Best
One of the most common nurse archetypes in some of our favorite modern television shows involves the young, or maybe the high-in-the-instep doctor who is too busy to pay attention to their own patients. You know the drill. An experienced, hard-edged Nurse Jackie will storm into the doctor’s office demanding that they test their patient for the newest version of Lymes disease. Or maybe Carol from the long-running ER bursts into the doctor’s office and demands equal treatment and pay because it’s really “the nurses that make this place and not you”.
Sadly, there’s far more fiction than fact to that scenario. In a well-run hospital, nurses work hand in hand with their medical degree enhanced doctor counterparts. Sure, nurses administer medicine and tend to patients daily needs, but it’s often at the strict orders of the doctor in charge.
Doctors rely on great working relationships with their nurse and nurse practitioner counterparts to help facilitate medical treatment. In short, nurses are a doctor’s eyes and ears on the ground and great ones are revered and respected, regardless of the difference in titles. In short, if you were looking to nursing as a way to experience daily hierarchical drama, chances are real life is going to leave you sorely disappointed.
One of the ways that Hollywood manages to be slightly more true to life is in the breakdown of nursing across the sexes. As of 2018, less than 10% of nurses were male. For those that neglected Ms. Cooper’s 4th-grade math class in lieu of superhero comic books (ahem), that means that 90% of the profession is likely to be lacking a Y chromosome. Remember Yosh from the above-mentioned ER? He was often depicted as the sole male nurse, gossiping amongst his female cohorts.
While there are numerous theories surrounding the reasons for this differential, the truth of the matter is that neither males nor females are any better suited for the profession based on physical or mental traits. Unlike the Hollywood portrayal of Greg Focker in “Meet the Parents,” qualified nurses of all sexes are respected and highly sought after. Nursing is a profession that is currently in high demand and anyone looking for a steady dose of career stability and opportunity for growth and advancement should feel free to pursue the necessary education needed to launch their career.
Romantic Liaisons with Doctors
Ah, nursing life. If you’ve ever felt just a tad bit annoyed with the way pop-culture portrays your day in, day out job responsibilities, your frustration likely stems from the depiction of the romantic interludes that seem to permeate film and television. Whether it’s Nurse Jackie getting it on with the pharmacist or the feels inducing marriage between Turk and Carla on Scrubs, Hollywood loves to overuse the classic trope of co-worker or supervisor/apprentice romance in the workplace.
If you’re looking for an in real life explanation of why this is far from the case in the nursing profession, let us break it down for you. First off, hospitals aren’t exactly the most ideal settings for building romance. Nursing can be a demanding profession filled with plenty of physically induced exhaustion and sweating (BO anyone). And the last time we checked, mucous, blood, urine and other frequently-encountered bodily fluids aren’t exactly the sexiest substances to induce that “loving feeling.”
The reality of the nursing world is that you are more likely than not to go home at the end of the day feeling tired, emotionally and mentally worn down, and needing a hot bath and take out more than a quick fling with that young, hot doctor. Speaking of McDreamy, the demanding nature of most doctor’s careers is more likely to breed a middle-aged paunch than a stellar six-pack of abs hiding under those oh-so-not-sexy stain resistant, cotton scrubs. In short, Hollywood fiction doesn’t quite match up to the reality of this rewarding career field.
The Nursing Bottom Line
Sure, our depictions of the stark realities of Hollywood versus real life may seem a bit…offputting. In short, a nursing career is typically pursued due to a desire to help usher patients into better health and the need for a steady but emotionally fulfilling paycheck.
Have we helped dispell rumors regarding your desired or current profession? Or maybe you’ve enjoyed our tongue-in-cheek glimpse into the field and want to forward this article to a wayward friend so that you can stop rolling your eyes every time they ask whether your resident doctor is “super handsome”?
Whatever the case, tune back in to Simply Hired for the latest and greatest updates on the career and hiring scene. We promise to help dispell rumors, doll out helpful advice, and break through Hollywood’s amusing tropes, to help you find your next big job or the career of your dreams, minus the unreasonable expectations.
Article Updated from the Original on January 3, 2019