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Nurse Annoyed at Being Told “You’re Smart Enough to Be a Doctor”

Posted by diskusiperawat on November 24, 2008

by Brian Carty, MD, MSPH

In a new book of essays by nurses, “Reflections on Doctors” (2008), nineteen essays show physicians as the corrupt, dishonest, homicidal misfits that they really are. Not really; that’s a spoof. The essays are intelligent and well written, but do address some important issues.

Doctor-Nurse Relationship is Like a Marriage

The doctor-nurse relationship is in many ways a marriage writ large, with love, hate, mutual dependence, ambivalence, and uncertainties about power and responsibility. As in many marriages, though, the two parties would sometimes like to take separate vacations and have separate checking accounts.

“Smart Enough Not to Be a Doctor”

One essay is titled “Smart Enough Not to Be a Doctor.” The author, Pamela Gonzalez, RN, says that she has been told repeatedly throughout her career that she is “smart enough to be a doctor.” She considers this an insult.

Are Doctors Smarter Than Nurses?

Ms. Gonzalez complains that “This backward compliment suggests that choosing a professional path in the nursing field is for those with less intellectual abilities (sic) than those who choose to go to medical school.” Ms. Gonzalez says that she wants to reply “Yes. I was smart enough – and I chose not to be a doctor.”

Ms. Gonzalez graduated from an Ivy League college and had good grades and test scores. She writes well and sounds like a very competent professional. All of which suggest that she probably would have done well in medicine.

Some Aspects of Nursing Are More Appealing

So why didn’t she go to medical school? Ms. Gonzalez gives some supposed advantages of being a nurse rather than a doctor, such as being more directly involved with patients. She believes that patients will confide sensitive information to a nurse which they won’t disclose to a physician. Still, it’s hard to imagine a relationship which requires more trust and disclosure than the doctor-patient relationship, so these arguments aren’t very convincing. There may have been other reasons why she preferred nursing to medicine.

In Some Ways Medicine Is Not So Appealing

According to Ms. Gonzalez, becoming a doctor requires spending years training before seeing patients, and HMOs often control the time physicians spend with patients. Also, she wisely does not place much value on a high income. These reasons seem a little closer to the mark. I suspect, but cannot prove, that the reason Ms. Gonzalez didn’t go into medicine was the often extreme demands placed on physicians.

Besides, what’s wrong with being a nurse? Ms. Gonzalez must know that many physicians are unhappy with their pay and working conditions. Whether medicine is still a wise career choice is a complicated issue which cannot be discussed here. Ms. Gonzalez says she was “smart enough not to be a doctor.” Perhaps many doctors now practicing wish they had been that smart.

There Is Something to Be Said for a Job Which Doesn’t Consume Your Life

My father was an engineer. No weekend call, no 3 AM phone calls, no 80 hour work weeks. He didn’t have the status, income, or maybe even the job satisfaction of a physician, but he went home every day at 5 o’clock, and then his time was his own. I think there’s a lot to be said for that.

(Source :


One essay is titled “Smart Enough Not to Be a Doctor.” The author, Pamela Gonzalez, RN, says that she has been told repeatedly throughout her career that she is “smart enough to be a doctor.” She considers this an insult.

Hmm, beritanya masih hot tuhhh alias masih baru, hangat. bukunya aja keluaran tahun 2008.

Punya refleksi pribadi pengalaman anda dengan dokter?

Monggo diceritakan 🙂


10 Responses to “Nurse Annoyed at Being Told “You’re Smart Enough to Be a Doctor””

  1. Theresia said

    This is a true story from my best friend,please read this:

    “I’m probably wading in pretty deep, but here goes.

    Many years ago before I was a doctor, I was an ER nurse. When I realized that what I really wanted was to take the responsibility for the entire patient, I went to medical school because that’s the way things work in this country. While a nurse, I never felt any “collegiality” with the doctors — they had their duties, I had mine, and we both worked for the benefit of the patient. If they had things to teach me, great. I was a willing student and learned much.

    But familiarity breeds contempt, or at least a “shared equality” which is anything but equal. In the last few weeks I’ve had nurses tell me, “I knew you should have intubated that patient earlier,” “I knew that patient had a dissecting aorta” (when nobody, including the intensivist, cardiologist, or surgeon knew any such thing), and, when a patient last Sunday suddenly dropped his pressure and went into a-fib, “I thought that was a pulmonary embolism when he hit the door” (with a set of vague complaints which matched absolutely nothing).

    The retrospectoscope is a marvelously accurate tool. Unfortunately, it’s of no help in the present tense, and causes mostly resentment if used in the past tense. I would love nothing more than to be right 100% of the time in the present tense, but that will never happen. That’s why I subscribe to Emergency Medical Abstracts, Audio-Digest, Topics in Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Critical Decisions in Emergency Medicine, Medical Letter, Journal Watch, Annals, AEM, JEM, EM News, etc. That’s why there are well-thumbed copies of Rosen & Barkin, Tintinalli, Roberts & Hedges, Nelson’s Pediatrics, etc. on shelves in my ER (and rarely looked at by the nurses, I might add). That’s why our department on-line computer has bookmarks for emedicine, eMedHome, NEJM, BMJ, Pub Med, NCEMI, etc. (if I can get access to it, in which case the comment is “There’s Mark…playing on the computer again”). That’s why I am active in Emergency Medicine organizations at the local, state, and national levels. That’s why I’m on this list . . .

    . . . and that’s why my malpractice insurance runs about $30,000 / year, because I can never be right 100% of the time.

    I’ve worked with some damn good nurses whose opinions I’ve learned to respect and trust, but they had to earn that trust. I expect to earn trust and respect from nurses in the same manner. But this malarkey about “Listen to the nurse, because the nurse knows” is hard to swallow.

    Now, I am happy as a doctor than ER nurse……

  2. and this is a story of Pez:
    “I was a nurse for ten years before I became a doctor. While I was a nurse, I often thought I knew just as much as the doctors, and so did many of the nurses I worked with. Then I went to medical school. Let me tell you, it was hard . . . REALLY hard. If I’d known as much as I thought I did, I guess it wouldn’t have been such a challenge, right? Having been both a nurse and a doc, I know what nurses know, and I know what doctors know — and I know there’s a world of difference between them. So, Pez, I have to say I agree with you that doctors do know more. In retrospect, it’s amazing that anyone would doubt something so obvious. This probably won’t set too well with your readers who are nurses, but I have one thing to say to them: go to medical school, and then what ? in fact my knowledge nursing is not at all compare with doctors knowledge….. A poor nursing *hiks*….

  3. Nurse Vs Doctor questions is pretty tough… nurses are being given more and more responsibility, so you can’t really say that I need and will enjoy more responsibility anymore…

    The reason why I want to be a doctor and not a nurse is because, like many others have said, I want to stay in the education system longer, get more pay and more respected, don’t want to make beds…and passing the time become nurse and don’t forget make a poor life being nurse………

  4. grumpajoesplace said

    My wife was a nurse, and my daughter is a nurse. I listen to my daughter tell stories about doctors often. She is a “patient advocate,” in oncology. She does know alot, but I’m sure doctors know more. What they often lack is a compassion for the problem at hand. Doctors treat the disease and not the person. I wish my daughter would become a doctor. She would be a great one. Just as doctors who were nurses will probably admit that they are better doctors because they were nurses first.
    My wife, on the other hand, distrusted doctors and would self diagnose her aches and pains. She wound up having a heart attack that led to her death. She went to doctors who would listen to her self diagnosis and treat her as she wished. Looking back on her life, I wonder how these guys can live with themselves.

  5. ER Doc said

    Inilah bukti bahwa DOKTER itu lebih pintar dan jenius
    Dokter-dokter jenius yang mendapat hadiah nobel :
    1. Penemu Terapi Antisense oleh dr. Paul Zamecnik
    2. Penemu Penghilang Katarak (Laserphaco Probe) oleh dr.
    Patricia Bath
    3. Penemu Jantung Buatan oleh dr. Robert Jarvik
    4. Penemu obat aspirin oleh dr. Felix Hoffman
    5. Penemu Analisis Darah Otomatis oleh dr. Wallace H. Coulter
    6. Penemu Emboloctomy Balloon Catheter oleh dr. Thomas J.
    7. Penemu Bifurcated Vaccination Needle oleh dr. Benjamin A.
    8. Penemu Polimer untuk aplikasi biomedis oleh dr. Robert
    9. Penemu Bioteknologi dan biomaterial oleh dr. Leslie A.
    10. Penemu Bank Darah oleh dr. Charles Richard Drew
    11. Penemu Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) oleh dr. Peter
    12. Penemu RPI-069 oleh dr. Eva Vertes
    13. Penemu Controlled Drug Delivery Systems oleh dr. Alejandro
    14. Penemu Covermark oleh dr. Lydia O’le
    15. Penemu CT Scanner oleh dr. Robert Ledley
    16. Penemu Alat Cuci Darah (HD) oleh dr. Willem Kolff
    17. Penemu Dimeric FGF2 oleh dr. David Berry
    18. Penemu Sidik DNA oleh dr. Alec Jeffreys
    19. Penemu obat kanker dan leukemia oleh dr. Gertrude B. Elion
    20. Penemu EKG oleh dr. Willem Einthoven
    21. Penemu Mikroskop Elektron oleh dr. James Hillier
    22. Penemu Gene Sequencer oleh dr. Leroy Hood
    23. Penemu Kloning Molekul hasil rekayasa genetika oleh dr.
    Herbert dan dr.Stanley
    24. Penemu Interferon oleh dr.Sidney Pestka
    25. Penemu Mesin MRI oleh dr. Raymond V. Damadian
    26. Penemu Medical Imaging Systems oleh dr. Albert Macovski
    27. Penemu Respirator Medis oleh dr. Forrest Bird
    28. Penemu Multi-terrain Wheelchair oleh dr. Collin Twitchell
    29. Penemu Sistem Neuroelektrik oleh dr. Daniel Di Lorenzo
    30. Penemu Vaksin/Pasteurisasi oleh dr. Louis Pasteur
    31. Penemu Penisilin oleh dr. Alexander Fleming
    32. Penemu Vaksin Polio oleh dr. Jonas Salk
    33. Penemu PCR oleh dr. Karl Mullis
    34. Penemu Teknologi Pengobatan Medis Portabel oleh dr. Dean
    35. Penemu RIA oleh dr. Rosalyn Yalow
    36. Penemu Riset sel induk oleh dr. Curt Civin
    37. Penemu Penanganan Pasien Stroke oleh dr. Jewell Osterholm
    38. Penemu Tetrasiklin oleh dr. Lloyd Conover
    39. Penemu Uji TBC oleh dr. Florence Seibert
    40. Penemu kapsul oleh dr. William Upjohn
    41. Penemu Multi-channel Cochlear Implant oleh dr. Graeme Clark
    42. Penemu Plastinasi oleh dr. Gunther von Hagens
    Sumber :
    Farid Solana. Temuan Penting Teknologi Kedokteran. Pustaka Book Publisher,2008

    Pertanyaannya :
    1. Apa bukti bahwa PERAWAT itu lebih cerdas dan pintar dari DOKTER ?
    2. Sebutkan penemuan penting oleh perawat sehingga mendapat hadiah nobel tingkat internasional ? sekaligus sumbernya apa ?

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  10. jajamiharja said

    ER Doc, regarding ur comment, mungkin anda hanyalah tipe dokter yang kebetulan diterima di FK karena ‘fasilitas’ orang tua sehingga tidak bisa membedakan ‘kebutuhan’ profesi. Tapi sebenarnya lucu juga karena (contohnya) anda membanggakan EKG yang ditemukan oleh seorang dokter, tapi saya ragu apakah anda punya kompentensi untuk menjadi seorang cardiologist karena tentu tidak semua dokter bisa jadi (contohnya) cardiologist, yang bahkan mungkin seorang perawat di UGD RSU lebih mahir membacanya dibandingkan anda. Jadi cardiologist atau tidak itu karena PILIHAN profesi/spesialisasi. Demikian juga dengan pilihan menjadi dokter atau perawat. Dalam kasus artikel diatas, si Nurse merasa annoyed karena memang PILIHAN dia adalah menjadi seorang perawat, bukan menjadi dokter.

    Semoga bisa dimengerti oleh ur shallow dan stained brain 🙂

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