A survey from allnurses.com, the largest online networking and support site for nurses, reveals that the majority of nurses (74 percent) think the
"There are many misperceptions about nurses, the role they play, and the industry overall," said Brian Short, founder of allnurses.com, and a registered nurse himself. "These survey results–which are quite positive–provide a more accurate and up-to-date look into what nurses think, and indicate areas where patients and nurses can work more closely together."
Of particular importance, said Short, is the critical role that nurses play in serving as the patient's advocate. He encourages patients and their families to talk to their nurses because they are the closest to the patient and work hand-in-hand with doctors to deliver the best and most appropriate care.
Forty percent of nurses said the single biggest challenge they face today is the nurse-to-patient ratio. Nurses want to spend more time at the bedside, but administrative duties and having too many patients can keep them from doing so. Nurses also believe that patients and their families are confused when it comes to knowing the role nurses play vs. that of physicians, with less than 10 percent of nurses thinking that patients understand the difference.
When asked what makes an ideal nurse, respondents ranked knowledgeable, compassionate, and patient advocate as the most important characteristics. Gallup polls show that nurses are consistently ranked the highest among other professions for trustworthiness and credibility. When nurses were asked to weigh in on which hospital TV shows most closely resemble "real life," it was a close race among the long-running ER and Grey's Anatomy hospital dramas and the more recently launched documentary-style program NY Med.
More than 1,600 nurses and registered members of allnurses.com completed the survey, with 47 percent working in hospital settings. Recent estimates show that between 2008 and 2010, there were approximately 2.8 million registered nurses (RNs) and 690,000 licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in the United States. Registered nurses are the largest sector of employees in the healthcare industry.