A Lifelong Nurse Troubled by How Nursing Has Changed

As a nurse of 35 years, a person who dedicated my entire life from the age of 20 to the medical profession, I believe that not only should low-income students be given free education for medical fields—all people should be given free tuition. I do not believe that nursing is for everybody. I believe it is a calling, not a chosen profession, and a lot of the nurses you see having difficulty dealing with this job are nurses that got into it for the wrong reason.

We are held as heroes every day we put on that uniform, but some wear that uniform for how they are seen in it, not to take care of others. We do not want to be called heroes; we just want to do the job that we are called to do. We want to have the equipment we need. We want to stop having these high nurse-to-patient ratios that cause us not to be able to care for our patients which lead us to mental health problems which lead us to difficulty dealing with the decisions we have to make.

It is not feasible in any nurse’s mind that you can take seven patients to care for in a shift but that is acceptable to a hospital. Regardless of how nurses try to fight back we are not heard. I feel like the people that run and own these large health organizations or hospitals have sold their soul for a price and they are attempting to make the nurses sell theirs.

Nursing is a field that has evolved and continues to grow over the years. So has my education about nursing. I see a large number of older nurses leaving the field because it has become something we want no part of. It stands out very clearly in my mind when I was told at a hospital orientation that our patients were to be referred to as our clients. In that moment I felt like nursing was being set back 50 years. A client was something that a prostitute would call somebody that paid them for a service. It was one of the lowest points in my career because I never until that moment felt like I was providing a service that could be paid for. What I was doing for another human being was something I did because I cared.

—Barbara Moss


Send A Letter To the Editors

    Please tell us your thoughts. Include your name and daytime phone number, and a link to the article you’re responding to. We may edit your letter for length and clarity and publish it on our site.

    (Optional) Attach an image to your letter. Jpeg, PNG or GIF accepted, 1MB maximum.