Yet despite this, nurses are still widely perceived as handmaidens to doctors.
This is what I mean when I say to get a second opinion
The stereotypes linger, reinforced by popular culture. The prejudice also manifests itself in a continued gender imbalance. One nurse I work with is considering returning to Nigeria, so disheartened by the lack of trust and respect in the NHS , attitudes that do not exist in her country. Others are attracted by opportunities overseas, notably Canada and Australia, where salaries reflect the higher status of the profession.
There is hope, as the profession has evolved dramatically over the last decade and there are increasing numbers of opportunities to specialise and even prescribe. New titles, including nursing consultant, advance nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist challenge the traditional hierarchy. However, prejudice is so deep rooted that I fear change will take decades and in some cases be met with resistance. Just last week I overheard a consultant say to an impressionable junior doctor: Tinged with disdain, the implication was obvious: We must challenge these views and start to see nurses as partners to doctors, not inferiors.
Their unique scope of practice is of equal importance and until we recognise this, we will struggle to retain and attract the brightest talent to the profession. Join the Healthcare Professionals Network to read more pieces like this. And follow us on Twitter GdnHealthcare to keep up with the latest healthcare news and views.
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Health Nursing Nursing and midwifery Work practices Workforce comment. We don't just go grab a pile, put them in a cup, and saunter satisfied to your bedside. It's so much more than that, even if it only takes you a second to swallow them. Your nurse looks at every medication you have ordered, then makes certain she knows what each med is for.
She'll make the decision if you need certain meds given or held until a later date. There will possibly be phone calls to the physician to clarify an order, and if your nurse seems to be taking a bit to return, it might be because she had to run to the pharmacy for a medication of yours that wasn't available. Giving medications is no where near as easy as it looks, but your nurse will make it seem like a breeze. That we "bend" the rules.
Usually if you ask your nurse for something the legitimate answer may be no, but your nurse will respond, "let me check on that. I'm not saying your nurse disregards doctor's orders, but I am saying your nurse weighs the pros and cons of the directives set in place for your care. It's a fine balance to make certain you're happy, or as happy as you can be in the hospital. You might pick-up on when your nurse doesn't feel well, but the majority of the time your nurse won't disclose to you their own health.
While naturally your nurse will stay home if battling a contagious disease, for most other illnesses your nurse will still show up to care for you. You won't know the chronic pain your nurse endures, or about the slipped disc in their back.
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They might involuntarily wince when they lift without thinking, but if you ask they'll say, "I'm fine. Everyone knows nurses make the worst patients. So while we excel at caring for you, we might neglect ourselves, and we'll seldom let on how bad we feel. That our other patient just died. In my critical care unit I'm usually right outside your door, if not right by your side. If you don't see me for a while that may indicate things are not doing so well in another room. When I return, perhaps visually flustered, I will apologize profusely for ignoring you. Bless your heart for being so understanding most of the time.
I'll never be able to tell you why I was unavailable for a time, but occasionally it's because my other patient has died.
It won't change how I care for you, except to make me work harder to get you well. That our family is sick. Working as a nurse usually doesn't afford you the ability to leave at a moment's notice when your child falls ill. Nurses will continue to care for their sick patients even when sickness is waiting for them at home.
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Your nurse will never let on about their role as a caretaker for an aging parent, or how exhausting it may be to give the attention needed to a chronically sick child at home. We feel that while you're here getting better that things should be about you. So we'll probably keep our dealings with sickness away from work a private matter.
A striking family resemblance. Here's what I mean by that. It's possible, highly likely in fact, that your nurse has been on the receiving end of the situation in which you find yourself.
They have been that grieving, confused family member fighting for dad to pull through. Naturally, when they see you that striking resemblance to their own family member might be at the forefront of their mind. For me it's my mom. I see many patients whose case mimics my mother's. I think of her each time, but I rarely say a word. She fought the good fight, but eventually went to her forever home.
I'm pulling for you, so I usually keep that secret to myself. How often we go to bat. Although a part of me would love to brag about it, in the end I do not.