Life's Other Adventures

Just Kate

Before I begin I want to inform you, my readers, that today’s post will not follow my typical format. Posts from the past and moving forward will have slightly more depth, reflection, and substance, but for today, given the overwhelming response to my “Just a Nurse” post…

Allow me to take some time to introduce myself and clarify a few things.

First, my name is Kateri. I woke in the middle of the night recently suddenly aware that at least half of you are likely saying or thinking my name incorrectly. Or at least i should say differently than I do. I am Kateri, pronounced like catering, but with a K, without the food, and no “NG” (nurse joke. Get it?) but you can call me Kate, if you prefer.

I am from upstate New York originally. Like pretty far up there. I am as happy shooting a shotgun in blue jeans as I am in heels and a dress. By happy I mean pretty significantly happy by the way. Contrary to some assumptions I have seen in comments, I am a very happy girl.

In addition to dressing up or shooting I love to dance, talk, and cook. The previous post may actually have been a “rant” if someone had insulted my cooking. I take pride. A lot of pride.

I love what I do. I truly believe that if your career is one involving other humans you have to love it to do it, and definitely to do it well. This goes for teachers, any person on payroll in a hospital, and as someone pointed out in a comment; the person in the window of a drive through. I have had a day made by the person serving my morning coffee on more than one occasion.

Speaking of. I wouldn’t call anyone “just” anything. I was so disappointed by the number of responses I got that used the word “inferior” in any context. When discussing medicine there should be no superior or inferior. There is however a significance variance of scope of practice. These are very different things. What I was trying to say was that I love my job and the scope of practice I have in it. I am not jealous of the physician for the scope theirs entails. I do wish though that the public had a better understanding of the knowledge Nurses gain and use with what we do. I clearly wasn’t alone here. I also placed the blame for this on myself and my colleagues, not on physicians.

On the subject of the health care team; I meant no disrespect to our other member; Respiratory Therapists, LPNs, MAs, NAs, etc. Had my post been a write up on the health care team I would have included you all. It was not though. It was my reflection on what I do, and since I am a nurse it made sense to write about nursing. I did say I can’t do my job without other members of the team. Also, in different places I have worked the others in health care, as well as my own role has varied. The details I used were related to responsibilities I have had in the positions I have held.

Which by the way include NICU, Pediatrics, and PICU. I have never worked out patient, med-surg, or adults, and have immense respect for those of you who do. Our roles are different but our responsibilities hold the same weight. I meant no offense to clinic nurses. I think my comment was misunderstood. As a frequent patient I know how much you do, which is why I wrote that rooming a patient is hardly the extent of your work. Many people do not know it is the nurse on the phone line triaging their call, monitoring lab and test results, thinking ahead for what the doctor may need or want for your visit. I am sorry it came off as condescending or segregating.

I have a passion for my work, a passion for my patients. I do not however tie my self worth, self esteem, or even joy to my career. I have gained confidence and joy from it, but not exclusively. I am not defined solely by my career either, although this definition of self is something I have thought a lot about since I began this blog. In fact, it is one of the primary reasons i began the blog almost a year ago. You can read more about that in my post titled Definition.

My response to the comment of dismissal mentioned in Just a Nurse was not necessarily related to that one comment. Rather, the comment and my response allowed me to evaluate my feelings about my title of “Nurse” being misunderstood. I clearly was not alone here either. At this point as a nurse I have more experience in actual patient care, assessment, and implementation of treatment than most residents or first to second year fellows. This is not at all to say I am smarter or more qualified. It is to say that likely, I myself have seen as many wounds assessed and treated. In the work place my assessment would have been heard and discussed. Outside of work it was dismissed. None of this had anything to do with who was right or wrong. It brought forth the discrepancy between my professional role and it’s widespread understanding, or lack thereof. Here in lies the issues many nurses face; experience versus education. I myself don’t know where I stand on which is more valuable. I think it is situational, and more than that, the collaboration of the two leads to the best care and outcomes. Which is exactly why I have such respect for the other members of the team and such pride in the role I get to play.

This leads me directly to a point much addressed in reader comments; the bachelors degree.
There has not been a day in my career that I have felt my degree made me a stronger clinical nurse. I don’t assess better, place lines more easily, or comfort patients more completely because of it. I do however value the leadership skills, professionalism, and pride in my profession that it has given me. I was fortunate enough to attend Le Moyne College’s unique nursing program that allowed me to receive an associates degree from a clinically driven hospital based associate’s program with a liberal arts BSN component. Like it or not we live in a degree driven society. They do earn respect and nursing has in some ways fallen behind the curve. Right or wrong. I have valued what my bachelors earned me and spoke from personal opinion and experience when I stated that it has made me well rounded as well as respected, as this has been my personal experience.

Finally, I want to make this point crystal clear. I can at this point in my career count on one hand the number of physicians I have NOT enjoyed working with, felt belittled by, or felt ignored by. The physicians I have worked with have taught me daily. They have asked my opinion in areas I have experience and I have learned from theirs in other areas. I had no intention for my post to turn into a doctor bash. On the contrary I meant to point out how glad I am that they do their job and I do mine.

And as a disclaimer; I am human. I make mistakes, bad calls, wrong choices. I get cranky with coworkers, patients, and families. I am not the nurse I want to be every single day. But I like to think I will get there.

Note: I owe this post’s clever title idea to a dear friend Kim.


19 thoughts on “Just Kate

  1. Kate, I am a fellow NICU nurse from Texas and absolutely loved your “Just a Nurse” post, as did many of my friends and colleagues! It hurts me that you felt in any way you needed to clarify anything from that post in this one. It just goes to show that society views us differently than we view ourselves and the reason you felt like putting in words that you’re more than “just” anything! I love this post as well, and you can consider me a follower of yours from here on out! I’m new to the blogging world, but you will be featured in my upcoming post over at

  2. Kateri my dear friend, I now have to go and see the ridiculous comments people must have left you after your “Just a Nurse” blog, to make you feel you had to write this. Your bog was FANTASTIC,and I so admire you being able to put your thoughts and feelings into words. You are a wonderful person, co-worker and most importantly FRIEND!! Whoever wrote the negative comments, have no idea about the person you are and you should not feel you have to explain yourself. There are people out there that will pick apart every single word written and scrutinize it just because they have nothing better to do. So keep writing cause I look forward to your next blog!! Miss you terribly!! Dawn

  3. Trolls will hate anything. It validates their existence. I read your post and could not fathom why so many people took so much apparent personal offence to it. Outside of the fact that they needed to express their bitter rage at life. There was nothing wrong with the post in the slightest.

  4. Kateri – I loved your post, it was a perfect description of what nurses go through. Dont let the negativity and hate bring you down. My wife (a fellow nurse) and I look forward to future posts.
    All the best,

  5. Haters gonna hate, Kateri. I think you’re a great writer with poignant insights. I understand your frustration with those who attack your point of view. While this post is great, too, I hope you don’t let haters put you on the defensive and dictate the way in which you share your complete self. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts in the future. 🙂

  6. Kate, I commend you for laying it all out there. You have been harshly introduced to the internet’s world of ‘haters’ and ‘comment mongering rioter’s’ who thrive on pushing people.
    As a fellow nurse and experienced blogger, I say ignore the naysayers and try not to acknowledge those who attempt to drain your blogging message.
    That particular post about being ‘just a nurse’ is a popular theme amongst nurse-bloggers and is always a sensitive subject for those who don’t quite understand the passionate concern we nurses have about those words.
    So glad to have found your blog.. you give me the inspiration to keep blogging. It’s always nice to meet fellow nurses with genuine passion for our wonderful profession and our lives outside of it.
    Keep on keepin’ on!

  7. Thanks Kate I like your post! Very honest…. Very true….

    Your inspiring me to write again…. I haven’t blogged on my site lately but I also haven’t had the success that yours has had….

    Keep writing I will keep reading…. Cinzia

  8. I have known Kateri since she was three. She is exactly as she comes through in her blog – honest, forthright, not wanting to diminish others, but speaking the truth as she sees it. I commend you Kateri for being the positive, transparent and wonderful woman you are. Keep on writing…Diane

  9. You can be the brightest, juiciest peach in the world but there will always be somebody that hates peaches.

    I am about to become a registered nurse with a BScN and truly enjoyed your “Just a Nurse” post. I actually just returned back to your website to print it off and hang on my fridge as a motivation tool while I do my final practicum this semester and graduate in December. I feel disappointed and sad that you had some negative feedback on your last post as I feel it was extremely well worded and thoughtfully put together. I’ve experienced much of what you wrote about in my 4 year student career. I do hope nobody else out there takes offense at that post. I feel, and I know many other nurses and student nurses do as well, that you portrayed your thoughts without any degradation to the nursing profession or other health disciplines.

    Keep writing nursing posts! It’s nice to know there are other nurses out there that have the same experiences and thoughts.

  10. Kateri,
    I read your blog for the first time yesterday when I stumbled upon the “Just a Nurse” post on facebook. I am currently a nursing student in Arizona, completing my final semester of nursing school and I could not pass up reading your blog. I cannot begin to explain how much I enjoyed the “Just a Nurse” post and it saddens me a bit to hear that it was misinterpreted or misunderstood by some people. Even though I am still in nursing school, I was able to relate to the post because I have had people ask me “why not just go to med school?”, “you just want to wipe peoples butts all day?”, “don’t you want a more powerful position?”. Comments and questions like these have left a bitter taste in my mouth because it is so common for people to not have an understanding of what a nursing job entails. I do not expect everyone to have a clear understanding of what it is to be a nurse, but sometimes it would be nice. Like you said, I could be the one that explains to them what it is to be a nurse.
    Someone asked me recently if I could not be a nurse or anything in the medical field, what would I want for a career?- I could not answer them. I just want to be a nurse. I chose to be a nurse after after losing my dad to melanoma when I was 17 (now 22) because I was able to see everything his nurses did for him and my family. The positive impact they had on him and my family was indescribable. From that point forward, I was determined to be a nurse and have a positive impact on my patients- it means more than the world to me.
    Power to you, Kateri!

  11. Kateri, I loved your “Just a Nurse” post as did many of my nurse friends! I also read many hateful comments from people in response to your post. Please know that the negative responses you got from that post had nothing to do with you or what you wrote. Those comments are from people who have their own issues and insecurities. Their responses to what you wrote aren’t about what you wrote. They are about their own insecurities. You seem like a kind person. You and the people who love you most know what is in your heart and that is all that matters. Notice that no one who made an angry or hateful comment has anything to say about what you wrote today? They’ve moved on to the next person they need to pounce on to make themselves feel better. Say what you have to say. Your writing is beautiful. Be true to yourself.

  12. I am a nurse to, and I wanted to say I loved your post “just a nurse”. I understood whatnot meant, and its terrible that you feel you need to explain yourself for this. I am more specifically a Practical nurse which here in Canada mean I can do so many things that the public do not understand. I have been frustrated many times by the lack of public knowledge and understanding about my education and abilities in The healthcare field. I really appreciated your post. Thank you.

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