Common Myths About RN Careers

Many people harbor misconceptions about RN careers. This article will dispel the most prevalent myths about nursing and reveal the truth behind them.
Common Myths About RN Careers

Like many people, you probably harbor at least a few misconceptions about Registered Nurses (RNs). These myths are remarkably common and can be detrimental to individuals considering a career in nursing. For instance, many men decide not to pursue careers as RNs due to the mistaken belief that only women are hired as nurses. Others take the nursing shortage for granted and assume they will immediately land dream jobs after earning their licenses. By educating yourself about the truth behind these myths, you'll be better equipped to prepare for your own successful career as an RN.

Myth 1: Only Women Work as RNs

It's easy to understand how this myth arose. For various reasons, the nursing field has long been predominantly female. While the vast majority of nurses are women, this does not preclude men from pursuing successful careers in nursing. According to a 2008 survey by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, men accounted for 9.1 percent of all RNs in the U.S.

Myth 2: RNs Are Just Errand Runners for Doctors

Common misconception often portrays RNs as subservient to physicians, tasked with carrying out their every command, including fetching coffee and other menial tasks. This is far from the truth. RNs do not report to doctors; they typically report to directors of nursing or other senior nurses. They work independently to provide comprehensive care to their patients.

Myth 3: The Nurse Shortage Makes it Easy to Find Jobs

While there is indeed a shortage of nurses in many parts of the country, this does not guarantee that newly licensed RNs will have their pick of any job imaginable. Employers are still discerning when hiring RNs, seeking strong educational backgrounds and relevant experience. Competition remains fierce for the most desirable positions and workplaces.

Myth 4: You Aren't a Real Nurse if You Only Have an Associate Degree

This myth is particularly damaging, as it sometimes dissuades individuals from pursuing their dreams of becoming RNs. To become an RN, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam, which requires completion of relevant schooling. Associate degrees count, so RNs with "only" associate degrees are, indeed, "real" nurses.

Myth 5: RNs Have Few Advancement Opportunities

Some individuals may decide against a nursing career due to perceived limitations for career advancement. Contrary to this belief, nurses with BSNs and higher degrees qualify for advanced practice nursing positions such as nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and many other specialized roles. Additionally, RNs can earn specialty certifications to expand their career opportunities.

Myth 6: All RNs Work in Hospitals

While hospitals employ the majority of RNs, with approximately three out of five RNs working in this setting, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many others work in doctor's offices, clinics, nursing homes, and even in patients' homes. Others, including nurse educators, work outside of healthcare facilities entirely. Indeed, nurses enjoy a wide range of options when it comes to work environments.

Now that you have a better understanding of these common myths about RN careers, you can make informed decisions about your own career path. As you embark on your journey as an RN, make a point of debunking these myths for others to encourage their pursuit of this rewarding and versatile profession.

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