Inside scoop from our experts: Check your nurses' language

HCPro's Weekly Update on the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®*, October 7, 2008

This week, a reader asks how to stop nurses from saying “I’m just a nurse” throughout the organization. Read the response below from our advisor Gina Boring, MSN, RN, NE-BC, ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® director at Aultman Health Foundation in Canton, OH.

Q: How can you stop nurses from saying “I’m just a nurse” throughout the organization?

A: In Force of Magnetism 12: Image of nursing, it is important to capture the effect nursing has on the entire organization and remind nurses daily of their importance and ability to make organizational changes. When nurses feel they are essential to the healthcare team and have the influence and resources to drive change, they feel valued.

But when nurses feel neglected, they project words and actions that mold the perception of their image as a nurse. When nurses say “I’m just a nurse,” let them know that their words do not exude respect or confidence. Nurses are telling themselves, and those entrusted in their care, that they do not have the skills to be a nurse who can provide quality care.

Competence, confidence, autonomy, and the ability to make critical decisions are all hallmarks of the nursing profession today. Nurses need to acknowledge the impact of care they have on patient outcomes and the overall organization. You can help them do this by creating a bulletin board for each nursing unit that recognizes staff nurses who exemplify nursing excellence. This will show staff nurses they are valued and appreciated, putting an end to the language “I’m just a nurse.”  

Editor’s note: Do you have a question for our experts? If you'd like us to consider your query for publication, please send it to associate editor Cameran Erny at


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