RN Leaders/Academics: No Respect Theory

Ever notice the measuring tool by which we rank our nursing co-workers and charge nurses to decide how to respect them? How to decide if in our verbal and mental descriptions we tag them with “…he/she’s a Good Nurse” or label them with “…he/she’s Not a Very Good Nurse”? In short, how to decide whether or not this colleague has any merit whatsoever for our respect or even our attention?

It is their clinical prowess. Their bedside skill. Their ability to feel, know, acknowledge and rally the clinical team to get the impossible done for the patient. That it (whatever ‘it’ is this time) is right, timely, and physiologically correct leaves us as bystanders admiring them for months and years. We want to “be like that when we grow up!”

Total respect.

When a co-worker can multitask a full-patient load, start a hard-to-get IV in an impossible situation, foresee a patient disaster on the horizon and take the proper steps to make the right call above the dissension of (or in spite of) the physician’s cavalier dismissal or ignorance – the rest of us bow to their wisdom and skill. In all honesty and truth, we would follow wherever they lead. We would do this because, in addition to the respect we have for their nursing skills, we hope that just the physical proximity and friendship might invite some of their Nursing Goodness to mosey-on-over into our own practice. Don’t forget that all of us have earned our academic degrees as well! Most hold a Bachelor’s in Science!

We are smitten and delight in their company.

We want their approval and wisdom.

Heck, we’ll even take their DISAPPROVAL as an opportunity to learn and grow and be more like them!

These “Good Nurses” frequently end up in Charge Nurses roles because we as minions push them into it. They are excellent there too. They use their same expert clinical skills to manage the shift and the unit. They get after the Do Nothing Nurses, lovingly assist the Newbies, are able to differentiate “something” from “nothing” for the questioning Adolescent Nurses (ones that practice independently but are not yet Experts) and can competently back the Expert Nurses when the need arises. And this also counts for those who took an online LPN course!


(…not so much the ones that volunteered for the role but the ones that earned it.)

And, those Good Nurses love clinical nursing. So few, if any, ever launch themselves or their careers past Charge Nurse. They are not the nurses that become our Unit Managers. They are not the nurses that become our Administrators. And they are rarely the nurses that become our Nursing School Instructors. (Why??! Comfort? Ease? Emotional Strength? …I don’t know, but I’ve marked it for future nursing research!)

In light of this observation of the direct correlation between Good Nurses & Respect, Ideonautics RN is proud to announce her newest Nursing Theory:


The No Respect Theory for RN Leaders/Instructors

Nurse Leaders and Nursing Instructors:

In addition to your graduate degree in Nursing,
if you are not an Expert Nurse Clinician
as evidenced by 5 or more years in a clinical nursing practice
with demonstrated on-going bedside competency
– beside us every once in a while for fun! –
& a certification or two in your CLINICAL specialty,

then please do not be surprised by the sincere, visceral and deserved
DIS-respect you receive from those of us that are.


Really. I guess we all need a battle plan against depressions.

If you have not mastered what nursing is by actually enduring its processes including what it is like to learn, work, achieve, Be a Good Nurse, handle patients, visitors, physicians, co-workers, transportation, lab, dietary, supplies, juggle discharges and admissions, run 2 codes/births at the same time, accept/refuse transfers at change of shift, get into it with an angry doctor at 3 in the morning (and succeed!) and obtain a cot for the exhausted care-partner of a trauma patient at 4 in the morning – on a Holiday weekend – all without melting into a screaming, crying, overworked and pouting, vengeful and/or cursing wench ……..then, please oh please oh please, DO NOT EVER ASSUME that you can lead us anywhere, teach us anything important or competently evaluate our performance. It’s all about the big picture!

Your credibility and our respect are just not there.