Caitlin Brassington, a registered nurse, was grocery shopping in her scrubs when she ran into an acquaintance. Caitlin and the woman weren’t friends, but they they both knew of each other. The woman was surprised to see Caitlin wearing her scrubs, but after learning her profession said “oh, you’re just a nurse.”
It wasn’t the woman’s surprise that bothered Caitlin, it was her use of the word “just.”
The word implied that a registered nurse is somehow less important or inconsequential in the field of medicine. Caitlin was upset, went home and crafted a beautiful reply that she shared on Facebook:
‘Just a Nurse’. I am just home from a busy shift, looking very ordinary in my scrubs. On the way home today I stopped at the shop for milk and saw an acquaintance. She has never seen me in uniform and said that she didn’t realise I was ‘just a nurse’. Wow! Over my 18 year career I have heard this phrase many, many time, but today it got to me. Am I just a nurse?
I have helped babies into the world, many of whom needed assistance to take their first breath, and yet I am just a nurse.
I have held patients hands and ensured their dignity while they take their last breath, and yet I am just a nurse.
I have counselled grieving parents after the loss of a child, and yet I am just a nurse.
I have performed CPR on patients and brought them back to life, and yet I am just a nurse…
I am the medical officers eyes, ears and hands with the ability to assess, treat and manage your illness, and yet I am just a nurse.
I can ascultate every lung field on a newborn and assess which field may have a decreased air entry, and yet I am just a nurse.
I can educate patients, carers, and junior nurses, and yet I am just a nurse.
I am my patients advocate in a health system that does not always put my patients best interest first, and yet I am just a nurse.
I will miss Christmas Days, my children’s birthdays, and school musicals to come to work to care for your loved one, and yet I am just a nurse.
I can take blood, cannulate and suture a wound, and yet I am just a nurse.
I can manage a cardiac arrest in a newborn, a child or an adult, and yet I am just a nurse.
I can tell you the dosage of adrenaline or amiodarone based on weight that your child may need to bring them back to life, and yet I am just a nurse.
I have the experience and knowledge that has saved people’s lives.
So, if I am just a nurse, then I am ridiculously proud to be one!