In our discussions of how to “brand” AJN, we on staff have sometimes referred to it as “the journal for the career-minded nurse.” I’ve often wondered who those nurses are. Some might think they’re that small percentage of nurses who go on for advanced degrees (only 13% of nurses, according to one source) or those who move into management positions.
But I see them differently. I think there are a lot more career-minded nurses out there than we give credit for. What about nurses in direct-care roles who strive to be the best clinicians they can be—aren’t they “career minded” too? They’re the nurses I looked up to when I was working in the hospital and hoped to be like some day. They keep the basic principles of good nursing in mind, combining compassion and evidence-based practice, behaving professionally, dressing appropriately, staying aware of health care trends, and advancing nursing by participating in unit- and hospital-wide committees and professional organizations.
It’s not always easy. I broke the “dress appropriately” rule once, and will never do that again! (A hospital is no place for snakeskin pants, I learned.) And what would a nurse manager think of my new nose ring? One recent blog post debates that issue.
In my definition, career-minded nurses also take their role as preceptor very seriously, showing patience and understanding to new nurses. We need more of this; as one nurse blogger, Not Nurse Ratched, put it: “I have many assets to bring to this profession and to my patients, and I hope I survive my first year without burning out so that I can keep those assets in this profession.”
Patients need smart, capable nurses at the bedside. Perhaps if those nurses start getting the respect they deserve, we can keep them there.