I was asked by a teaching colleague, who is a Family Nurse Practitioner, what it was like to go from RN to student advanced practice nurse. I must have been shooting off vibes because I have been thinking about this. I’m having some trouble with it.
I’ve been a nurse for 10 years. I am very proud of the RN after my name, even despite the few little blips in my career. I have worked hard to gain the experience that I have, and the confidence in myself as a nurse. It has become part of my identity.
You will frequently hear nurses describe what their profession is as “just a nurse”. I’ve never said that. Ever. Because being a nurse isn’t menial. Certainly we can be viewed this way. You see nurses being portrayed as weak secondary figures in health care, being bossed around by doctors. Even the campaign (which shall remain nameless) to encourage young people to become a nurse so they can “dare to care” is demoralizing. The images show good looking young people holding the hand of the elderly, patting another on the shoulder, and pushing stretchers around a busy ER. Why aren’t they showing what we really do?
So when I think about becoming an advanced practice nurse (yes, nurse midwifery is considered an advanced practice nurse) in the not too distant future, I feel a bit sad. I will be placed in a new category. I will have a new identity. I don’t think I will ever be able to not feel like a nurse. I’ve heard some advanced practice nurses make it very clear they were “above” the RN title. I disagree. We are all nurses.