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ECONNECTIONS MARCH | 2013 I N S I D E NEWS.............................. P. 2 CALENDAR................... P. 3 ACADEMICS................. P. 4 It’s all in the name RESEARCH.................... P. 5 By Dean Gail Stuart, PhD, RN, FAAN PRACTICE..................... P. 6 FACULTY........................ P. 7 PUBLISHED BY: Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing 99 Jonathan Lucas Street MSC 160 Charleston, SC 29425 SEND INQUIRIES TO: With all due respect to the Bard, I take issue with Shakespeare’s comments that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” or “what matters is what something is, not what it is called.” This might work well for flowers but it does not work for nurses. What I am referring to is the names that are ascribed to nurses by others—both health care providers and the media. Let’s start with other health care providers. Our colleagues too often refer to advanced practice nurses as: • “Allied health care providers” – my question is, so who exactly are we “allied” with – patients, families or other clinicians? • “Mid-level providers” – my question is, so who among our nursing community is only voluntarily practicing to the “mid-level” of their skills? • “Non-physician providers” – my question here is, who defines oneself by what one is not? If this is typical, then perhaps I should describe myself as a non-lawyer or non plumber or non-movie star! The “non” list is endless, as is my imagination of all the careers I could have pursued. But is that really how I, as a nurse, should be defined? Perhaps physicians should then be described as “non-nurses”? I also have objection to the names conferred upon us by the media. Of these the most objectionable is “former nurse.” I ask you to join with me in critically evaluating this issue. Consider this. When Dr. Frist was elected to Congress no one referred to him as a “former doctor” or “ex doctor” even though he was no longer practicing medicine. So too, when lawyers move on to other careers such as those in service of their country, no one refers to them as “former lawyers.” Yet when nurses move out of the direct care-giving role, such as by becoming legislators or business entrepreneurs, they are referred to as “former nurses” or “ex nurses.” What is happening here? Talk to nurses who have expanded their roles out of direct patient care and they will tell you that their education and work as nurses continues to inform their many decisions, whether they are in business, politics or any other line of work. They are not “former nurses” they are simply nurses not in direct patient care. So let’s tackle this issue head on. The next time you see any of these names correct the speaker or the source because it really is all in the name….Gail

eCONnections - Mar2013

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