Post # 1
Patients assume you’re a nurse and then get mad when you politely explain that you’re not? I had 3, yes 3! random patients ask me to give them their pain meds today. One of them actually cursed me out! For goodness sakes I’m not even allowed to help people out of bed, let alone give them medications (not that I have access to them anyway). It’s like they don’t understand that 1) certain people, like me, have specialties and 2) there’s a chain of command from doctor to nurse to tech.
Post # 3
Well, considering that we are socially trained that “medical professionals” wear scrubs, it isn’t too far of a stretch to see scrubs and mentally associate it with “nurse” or RN. Unless you have a tag or something that says “I AM NOT A NURSE” or “I AM A VET” or anything to that degree, I don’t really think it’s obscene to imagine people are going to mistake you for a nurse. Yeah, people wear scrubs for lots of different professions, but you’re in the medical field, wearing scrubs, presumably in a hospital, so people are going to think you’re a nurse.
It’s kind of silly to have someone curse you out over it, though. It’s not like you can go, “Oh, the powers that be have magically granted me narcotic giving powers due to your anger!”
Post # 4
A friend of mine has a slightly different observation. She works at an animal shelter (where they wear scrubs). She hates when her co-workers wear them in public, because she sees it as them trying to get people to think they’re doctors. Plus any scrubs you wear in public aren’t really surgery clean. I think scrubs are the closest thing to socially respected pajamas we have 🙂
Post # 5
This is why as a nurse, I really wish everyone from docs and admin to techs and the housekeepers didnt wear scrubs. I have been blamed for things that had nothing to do with me because all the pt saw was someone in scrubs they assumed to be the nurse (who wasnt) who made them mad, then they complained about the “nurse” to someome and the real nurse gets yelled at or written up or whatever for something some other random hospital employee in scrubs did. And even though we are color coded, no one notices, everyone in scrubs is a nurse and everyone in a lab coat is a doc. Hate it. People dont get that No, that housekeeper/pct/food service worker/rt/pt/lab/ot person cannot do the things the nurse can do, but when you tell them something you want the nurse to do, dont be mad at the nurse you never said anything to when they dont know you ever asked! *end rant*
Post # 6
@oldmatron: I’m a medical student, and I actually have a pair of scrubs I use as my ‘im sick’ pyjamas. They’re just so comfy. And I love love love being in surgery wearing crocs and scrubs – beats the skirts and heels any day!
Post # 7
Meh, I’m young, female and in scrubs – I can’t blame some people for assuming RN vs medical student. Though I do wish that wasn’t what people automatically assume!
Post # 8
@chasesgirl: We’re color coded for the most part. Nurses are navy, nursing assistants are light blue, housekeeping is hunter green, pharmacy is black, transport is gray… I don’t think techs in any of the departments have a color code, but we all make sure to avoid wearing the same colors as the other employees. Between the color codes, introductions, and explanation of the procedure (“good morning Mr.—, my name is—, from—, and I’m here to—“) I’d like to think they’d realize that you’re not their nurse or doctor.
Post # 9
@oldmatron: She hates when her co-workers wear them in public, because she sees it as them trying to get people to think they’re doctors.
or just a nurse/tech/etc who got off work and needs to pick up some groceries on the way home.
the only time I’ll wear my scrubs outside of work is if I need to run an errand on the way home. doesn’t make sense going home to change and go back out. obviously if they were visibly soiled from work, I would not wear them in public.
back on the original topic though, the majority of the time pt’s (family members especially) initially don’t believe that I am the nurse and tell me I look like I’m 16. doesn’t help that the CNAs I work with are all in their 40s & 50s.
Post # 10
It used to mildly irritate me when irate patients would scream at me bc they thought I was a nurse, but I get screamed at anyhow because I’m an X-ray tech, so I’m used to it. Trust me, even tho I cannot give you pain meds, I would love to, because sedating u would make my life easier. Said no radiographer out loud, ever.
Post # 11
I work at a psychiatric hospital and have been confused for a nurse more than once. I’m a psych intern, and we wear dress clothes (I’m usually in pants and a blouse). The nurses are always in scrubs. Granted it is a psych hospital, but what nurse have you ever seen at work in heels and a blouse? lol
Post # 12
@Aquaria: But they dont, even totally oriented patients who were introduced at shift change rounds to the nurse and the (nurse aid, pct) tech frequently dont know or remember the difference.
As an aside, what is it with nurses and navy? Do hospitals like the alliteration or something? Because anywhere I have seen color coded staff, nurses are navy.
Post # 13
I always hate it when someone asks
“Are you a nurse?” and I reply
Then they come back with
“Oh..so you’re a doctor?? You look awfully young for a doctor.”
“No I’m not a doctor either.”
*confused look* “So what are you?”
“I’m a Licensed Veterinary Technician.”
“I work with exotic animals. I draw blood. Take xrays. Do lab work. Assist the doctor during surgeries, etc.”
“So you’re a dog nurse?”
“Sure..I’m a dog nurse who actually works with exotic animals.”
“That’s cool. Say, my dog has this rash on his stomach. It’s been there for like two weeks. Do you know what it is?”
This or some variation of this is the conversation I have 70% of the time.
Post # 14
@Aquaria: While you have to put up with someone occasionally (or sounds like frequently in your case!) assuming your a nurse and getting crap, just imagine the crap we nurses get! While we may have the authority to give the pain medicine, it’s rarely time when they want it. Or the doctor hasn’t ordered what the patient thinks they need.
@oldmatron: I wear my scrubs out if I’m stopping somewhere on my way to or from work. I see no reason to come home and change and go back out just to go to Walmart. I’m sure that’s what people at that shelter do too. That being said, the only doctors I work with who even wear scrubs are surgeons and the ER doctor. All the rest wear dress pants and ties.
Post # 15
@taraelisabeth: Oh gosh I know the terrors that nurses have to put up with! That’s why I didn’t go into the field. Back to the chain of command thing, patients think nurses have the same authority as doctors, and that you can give them anything they want at a whim. Personally I think nurses deserve to get paid more than doctors for all the shit they have to endure.
Post # 16
As a note: I just lost a patient a few minutes ago. A room full of white lab coats (students possibly?) and not one of them volunteered to do compressions.