Too Smart For Nursing?

I had one encounter on Monday that has stuck with me and caused a lot of reflection. One of the nurses (who was one of my favorites and made me feel so welcome – I don’t want this comment to reflect poorly on her) was trying to reassure me early in the day and encouraged me to ask a lot of questions. She said, “Don’t worry if you feel dumb most of the time. We all did at the beginning.”

Then she made the comment that has just echoed in my head repeatedly: “If you don’t feel dumb at the beginning, you should go back to medical school.”

Meaning if you don’t feel overwhelmed and dumb, you’re too smart to be a nurse and you should be a doctor instead?

It made me sad that this was the assumption, that a certain level of intelligence was a waste in nursing and should instead be applied in medicine. And it’s apparently an assumption that some nurses themselves subscribe to.

How many of you were told you were “too smart” to be a nurse? How many of you were told you should be a doctor instead? (I was!)

How did you respond? Would you respond differently now?

And most importantly…

How can we in the nursing profession dispel the myth that nurses are not as intelligent as other medical professionals?

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