Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

Do You Know A Stepford Nurse?

Have you seen the eerie movie titled “The Stepford Wives”?  The original 1975 film takes place in a small community where all the wives are p-e-r-f-e-c-t!  They look great, keep the home looking immaculate, make fabulous meals and, most obviously, provide their husbands with exceptional care.

The reason for the ladies’ perfection is that they actually weren’t ladies at all … they were robots.  And I’ve come to believe that now we have culture of Stepford Nurses.

A Stepford Nurse does what they are expected to do but they will not speak up, they don’t speak for themselves.  The culture of nursing is such that should we speak up, we’ll get in trouble.  Corporate health care does not like a squeaky wheel and every nurse knows that.

This is contrary to the purpose of nursing.  Patients are only in the hospital for one reason…nursing care.  We are the eyes and ears of the physicians.  We have our own unique body of knowledge and that is why we catch things earlier to prevent problems.  We know how care should be delivered so patients get the best outcome.

The sad part is, although I believe nurses have answers to all the problems in health care, we have been indoctrinated to be Stepford Nurses and thus are intimidated into remaining silent.

We need to stand together to change this.  When nurses stand together, we are so powerful.  Look at all the nurses that rallied behind the “nurses play cards” and “show me your stethoscope.”  Look at all the nurses that march before congress each year to get minimum nurse patient staffing ratios.  We cannot change the whole health care system at one time, but we can change one unit at a time, and it begins with us.  I invite you to “Be the change you want to see” on your unit because change begins with you. To do this, begin with the end in mind.  What do you want to create?  Then figure out how this is a win win for your unit like increased patient satisfaction, lower readmission rates, lower malpractice rates and improved patient outcimes.

Do you believe that our profession is being indoctrinated to be Stepford Nurses?  If so, how can we change that paradigm?  Let me know what you think of Stepford Nurses in our midst by commenting below.



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