Recently there has been a lot of discussion in the mainstream and healthcare media regarding ‘turf and title wars” between healthcare providers, namely physicians and nurses that has resulted in nurses being painted in a negative light. (Fox News Health Blog) Nurses have been characterized to be less intelligent than physicians, only going to nursing school because they were unable to get into medical school, that physicians are the only providers saving the lives of patients and nurses are merely task-masters and have no role in the recovery and outcomes of patients.
During this time of uncertainty within the healthcare delivery system, I find it incredibly demeaning and inappropriate that instead of looking toward common goals (patient care) that we are bickering about who is smarter, who has more education and who can provide care or perform what skill. Interestingly, the myriad of medical-drama television programs portray physicians frequently performing nursing roles with a disproportionately higher number of physicians to nurses.
There is no doubt that nurses are not content with the current system –an increasingly growing number of sicker patients in the acute care setting with less resources resulting in poor patient outcomes. Impending Medicare cuts (for both primary care and hospitals), an ever changing and evolving healthcare landscape and decreasing numbers of all levels and types of providers; this includes physical therapists, pharmacists and respiratory therapists just to name a few. Shouldn’t we be focusing on the current resources and collaborative practice?
Maybe the discussion we should be having is how can physicians, nurses, advanced practice nurses and all other care services provide safe, efficient, and competent care together?
With so many unknowns related to the healthcare reform bill, it is time to seriously look that the global impact that the changes are going to have on all providers and patients. We are all professionals and deserve to be treated with respect no matter education level or title we have.
It is time for nurses to let their voices be heard and re-educate others about the important role they play in providing safe, quality healthcare.
Happy Nurses Week to the 2 million strong and intelligent nurses across the country.
And remember to say thank you - they might just save your life one day!