Schools Training

Debunking Two Medical Industry Myths

26 JUN 2012
Career Path : Healthcare

Hospitals are clean


Theoretically, hospitals should be the cleanest places we step foot into. Treatment, recuperation, prevention, and health in general, all rely heavily on hygiene. For this reason, it is vital that every patient who walks through hospital doors is entering an uncontaminated environment.


However, hundreds, if not thousands, of people walk in and out of a hospital on a daily basis. Whether they are medical professionals, patients or visitors, the turn-over of people is so frequent that germs and bacteria are spread as people stroll in and out of the hospital.


But what does this mean for patients and visitors? Ultimately, it means that you are at high risk of catching an infection during your hospital visit. There is no doubt that hospital housekeeping professionals work really hard (and around the clock) to ensure that every inch of a patient room is cleaned thoroughly multiple times a day. But, like us, housekeepers are human, and can only control so much.


Also, patients and visitors do not realize how important it is to follow all of the hygiene precautions that the staff implements. Perhaps without even realizing it, visitors increase the risk of infection by forgetting to do something as simple as wash their hands. Even if all you did was push the elevator button, you must wash your hands after coming in contact with anything.


The cleanliness of a hospital environment relies on the employees and the visitors alike. While there are designated professionals that are responsible for cleaning the rooms, it is each individual’s responsibility to keep themselves in good shape, and that includes hygiene.


Nurses are not as smart as doctors


This is likely the most long-lived, and most untrue, myth of the medical industry. People tend to consider nurses as “failed doctors,” meaning that they did not have what it takes to make it through medical school.


There is no denying that doctors and nurses have different academic training. A nursing degree is a three or four-year program, one that covers a broad scope of information that allows for the best training possible. Conversely, medical school takes twice the time to complete, if not three times, and requires that students enter a specialization, be it GP practise, surgery, emergency or the like. But does the number years spent in school necessarily represent how smart or qualified one is? Engineers and architects spend roughly the same amount of time in school as nurses do. Are they also not as smart as doctors? That is not to say that nurses and doctors are the same. Of course they are not, but that does not mean that one is better than the other.


What is so troubling about this myth is that it does not accept nursing as a profession in its own right. By understanding nurses as inferior to doctors, their skills and expertise are ultimately undermined. Also, the myth divides nurses and doctors, which again undermines the fact that they work so closely together, and work towards the same goal, namely, the preservation of life. Just by looking through the nursing courses that so many aspiring students enroll in each year, you will understand the level of extreme proficiency, not to mention devotion, that goes into being a nurse.


The only way this myth will disappear is if people recognize nurses as individual professionals, one’s who are practicing in a field that they actively chose, not one that they settled on.



Visit Mohawk College for more information on various health science programs, including nursing and pharmacy technician programs.