Nursing may be an age-old profession, but there are still plenty of misconceptions about the field.
For starters, you might see nurses as merely “doctors’ assistants”, performing menial tasks such as changing diapers and administering patients their medication. We don’t blame you. After all, popular medical TV series such as Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs and House often glamourise doctors while nurses play second fiddle.
That’s not all. Aren’t nurses those who failed to become doctors? Is it a female-only profession? And is the pay as bad as everyone says it is?
If you’re harbouring a dream of becoming a nurse, it’s important to differentiate fact from fiction. In this article, we bust some of the popular myths surrounding the profession.
Myth #1: Nurses are paid poorly
On the contrary. Graduates with a Nursing Degree can earn an average of RM2,000 per month, regardless of whether they work in the public or private sector. This is in line with the average fresh graduate’s starting salary which ranges between RM1,800 and RM2,600.
In fact, in the public sector, the minimum starting salary for nurses with a diploma is RM1,797 per month, while degree holders start at RM2,429 per month, according to the Malaysia Civil Service Commission.
Additionally, nurses who work overseas receive a higher starting salary, such as those in Singapore who earn some SGD $3,000 a month, while nurses who work in Saudi Arabia can earn RM10,000 per month.
Myth #2: Nursing is not a respected job
There are those who see nurses as a doctor’s “sidekick” who do seemingly menial tasks such as feeding patients their medication or taking a patient’s blood pressure. However, there is more to the job than meets the eye.
Surveys reveal that nurses are among the most trusted workers around the world.
They are often the first point of contact between doctors, patients and their families, and vice versa. Their role is crucial to ensure a smooth operation within the healthcare community.
Regardless of where a nurse works, they often work tirelessly and selflessly to provide care for the ill. Without them, many day-to-day operations within a healthcare setting would fail to operate smoothly.
Myth #3: It’s a clock-in/clock-out job
Many jobs require people to stay back after their regular working hours to finish their work. Similarly, nurses may find themselves working well beyond their regular work hours as there is more to the job beyond the caring of patients.
So if you’re thinking of becoming a nurse, remember that working overtime may be the norm in the profession.
Myth #4: Nurses are those who failed to become doctors
This blanket statement is often inaccurate as many who go into the nursing profession may do so because they feel they are better suited for a nurse’s role as opposed to a doctor’s.
While nurses and doctors work in the same field, they are vastly different professions that require different skill sets.
Nurses and doctors work hand in hand to treat patients. While nurses require instructions from doctors for certain procedures, such as invasive procedures (drawing blood, injections, etc.), there are also tasks that nurses can do without a doctor’s orders, such as conducting physical assessments and taking a patient’s vital signs.
Myth #5: Male nurses are not masculine
Not true! Becoming a nurse doesn’t make men any less masculine. Similar to any other nurse, they often enter the profession because it provides them with an opportunity to care for others.
Additionally, having more males in the profession can benefit patients who prefer to be cared by a male nurse.
It’s important to remember that just because the nursing profession is dominated by females, that does not mean men can’t pursue their passion of becoming a nurse.
Myth #6: Male nurses can’t find other jobs
Some may wrongly believe that male nurses are only settling into a nursing career after failing to get into medical school or failing to secure a “better” job. However, the reality is that there are men who look past being a doctor and aspire to be nurses instead.
It’s also a positive sign that we’re seeing more males pursuing nursing programmes in Malaysia.
So, if you’re keen on becoming a nurse, we hope that we’ve demystified some of the common misconceptions about the profession!
While they don’t don pristine white coats or have capes on, nurses are the silent heroes in the healthcare community who continuously give it their best shot (literally and figuratively!) when caring for their patients.