Confession: don’t call me a “servant”

On day 3 of home hospital orientation. It actually is serving to get my mind thinking about myself and my attitude about orientation and my job as a nurse in general. Admittedly my attitude about orientation wasn’t/isn’t all that great, but my feelings about my job have been affirmed. 

Yesterday was the day where the administrators spoke on various topics that most nurses are familiar with.

Joint Commission
Hand hygiene and infection control
Back safety and lift equipment
Human resources
Cost effectiveness
Being a team player
Cumstomer service
Being a servant 

The last one… And yes they told us we were servants when we were at work. It didn’t inspire warmness and an enthusiastic mindset in me. At first!!  

It is no secret that medicine in this age is driven by satisfaction scores. In my mind, quality of care should be based on whether I saved your life. Reimbursement should be based on improvement of health. 

I’m trying not to be blasé, but some of the memes are funny. 

I admit it, I confess, I chafe at being called a servant. Why? Because it implies my skill set has no value outside of whether the patient had enough pillows or got their Coke. It also makes me feel like my personhood is nonexistent when I’m at work.  

I naturally take the time to adjust my attitude and greet the patient or family with a smile. Medicine is holistic and that means a smile can change a person’s outlook just as effectively as medication, at times. I attempt to go the extra mile, I leave my personal problems at the door, and I try not to take grouchy patient behavior personally. 

My issue always lies with being made to feel as though I’m incapable of doing those things without being told. My issue has always been that I no longer feel like a person when I’m at work. That ultimately the lack of consideration of me as the care provider, because there’s never focus on how building up the nurse can cut cost/improve patient care, makes me chafe when they start in on nurse/servant talk. 

There’s my attitude flaring again. 

But… For however much it rubs me wrong to be called a servant, I am that. Though I’d prefer it to be called having a service attitude. Shoot call it loving my job and what I do enough to put patients first. Still, I am serving my patients in order to make their experience a good one. 

I think it’s okay to dislike something and dig deeper into why something bothers you. I understand the root of my problems within the nursing profession and seek to discuss that openly. I’ve always felt one step to the improvement of in-hospital treatment is elevating the value of the nurse or aide in the profession. When we feel valued, we perform better. It leads to job ownership (something I’ll try discussing soon). 

Ultimately, I hate being told to do something that to me is innate. I do it because I take pride in what I do. I’m stubborn is part of it and I hate being confronted and treated as though I don’t do it anyway. Treat me like an adult who understands what my job is and knows what I went to school for. That’s just me being honest. 

The bottom line is yes I am a servant. I care for my patient on every level. I own that even if it bothers me when administration treats me as though my job isn’t of more value. But servants are valuable. You can’t run a hospital without us. 

From one servant nurse to another, you are valuable and your patients need you. 

Travel on, road warrior 


2 thoughts on “Confession: don’t call me a “servant”

  1. I think you are perfectly justified to get upset with the use of the word “Servant.” It’s not used in any Customer Service training that I have heard of. I understand the service mentality they want to instill but calling nurses “servants” is not the way to accomplish this.


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