A Hypothetical Medical Revolution: The Nurses' Declaration of Independence

Monica Lin - 06/28/19

Nurses are wonderful, but sometimes, doctors do not treat them as such. This is problematic because they work with doctors constantly, and there’s a couple of grievances that many nurses have about the behavior of doctors towards them. Most of these complaints center around the notion of a doctor acting snobbish, condescending, disrespectful, or arrogant in front of nurses and patients, which thereby affects their dynamic with the nurse and also what kind of care they can provide to the patient. We’re not sure if a problem like this will be fixed anytime soon, but we do recognize the urgency of it, so because July Fourth is coming up soon, we thought we’d rewrite part of the Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4, 1776, to make it appear as if nurses are writing it to doctors. 

Here’s what we imagine a Declaration of Independence for nurses would look like:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the professional bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Medicine entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all medical professionals are created equal, that Nurses should be treated with respect and granted autonomy, though they have secured their occupation through lengthy battles with the patriarchy. Whenever doctors or any leaders of medical institutions infringe upon our rights, it is the Right of the Nurses to take what is theirs. Nurses have suffered under the reign of doctors, been disrespected by the media and other medical professionals, and been restricted for far too long. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

They have treated us with such a heavy air of condescension, believing that they do more than us or some other inaccurate assumption along those lines, but in truth, they would not be able to do the work that they do without us.

They are sometimes consumed with their egos and do not offer the proper patient care, affecting both us and the patient. 

They do not listen to our complaints and our suggestions, believing their own way to be the only way.

They do not give us any autonomy, forcing us to do exactly what they wish us to do and never allowing Nurses to give input.

They, at times, engage in directed profanity, and this disrespect should not be allowed at all in any workplace. 

They do not believe that we do not want their occupations; to them, we became what we are because we could not become them, but this is blatantly untrue. We are just as smart and just as capable — we simply decided on a different path for our lives.

They believe that they are due extra privileges because of the position that they hold in the hospital.

They do not treat Nurses decently, and instead, are rude in their actions and behavior.

They do not write legibly, which causes, on average, over seven-thousand deaths annually.

They have call rooms and can sleep at night while we, Nurses, do not sleep during our night shifts.

In every stage of these Oppressions, we have asked for redress in the most humble terms: over and over again, we have asked, but they have never given. A Doctor, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the physician of a helpful, caring people.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the Nurses, assembled here, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the medical world for the rectitude of our intentions, do and by Authority of the Other Nurses, solemnly publish and declare that we, as United Nurses, should no longer be held by Doctors. Nurses are more than glorified caretakers; those days have passed. So, for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Basic Respect, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Well, that should be a pretty decent list about the things that doctors sometimes do that nurses don’t like. Nurses work hard, give their time and care to patients, and always do as much as doctors tell them to do. Without nurses, doctors really wouldn’t be able to do their job, so what are you waiting for? Take the call rooms to sleep in! Don’t listen to a doctor the next time they speak to you in a degrading manner! Tell the patients all the gossip about the awful things that doctors in your department do! Steal their lunch food! Begin the revolution because nurses are life ant they are forever!

We’re totally kidding; the above declaration and scenarios are just for fun because just like how doctors cannot function without nurses, nurses also cannot function without doctors. The two should work together, respect one another, and work in harmony with one another; it is wrong to assume that one group of medical professionals is better than the other. If you, as a nurse, though, are ever treated disrespectfully, don’t accept that. Try to stand up for yourself when needed, and assert your presence in the workplace. Working together does not mean giving up your sense of self. 

And with that, the team at NursingCE hopes you all have a great time celebrating Independence Day!