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Leanne Grace

Student Registered Nurse,

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What is the Public perception on the role of the modern nurse?

Nurses roles and our scope of practice has been dramatically changing in terms of modern nursing. We have many different registration levels and standards. We as the nurse have an idea of how we think our patients perceive us, but is this actually the way people feel about the care they have received? Especially to those of an older generation, have you seen a change in the care provided by nursing staff in your lifetime? And what role do you think the nurse plays within the health care team? Where do you think the nurses job ends and where for example the doctors job begins. Now I don't want to give away too much information because I wish to know what your personal perceptions are!

I am from Australia so my understandings are based on our system of care and on how things work here. But I am also very interested to here any experiences about care in other countries. Similar changes have been experienced in most developed areas in relation to nursing.

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  • Aug 3 2013: Hi Leanne,
    Maybe this is not the answer you're looking for, but I thought I'd still comment. Im a doctor in India. The topic rings bells for me because I've been thinking around the same lines. This is not about perception, but rather what I think the role of nurses should be in modern healthcare.

    We have this typical hierarchy in hospitals you would have noticed which goes like: HOD>Senior doctor>junior doctor>Head nurse>nurse>paramedical staff. This is a really archaic system in my mind. there is a spectrum in all of these going from Good to Bad. The patients(and a lot of staff) generally have a view as : doctor - decision maker, Nurse - the caretaker. you may also notice that mostly duties are are divided that way.

    how i think it should be(for nurses) : if a nurse has been trained and is aware of the correct procedures, their complications and how to manage those, they should be allowed to do those procedures(under observation at first) simply because that would increase the efficiency of the whole team. In emergencies, in case of unavailability of a doctor the nurse should have enough training and expertise to be able to handle it precisely. As a team the doctor and the nurse should be able to double check any parameters that the other checks for better quality control. switching a nurse from a more passive role in the treatment to a more active one, where he/she is able to manage most of the common and simple diseases. the hierarchy should remain because its based on knowledge and experience of a person, however the roles in all of those should overlap considerably.

    there are legal issues of course, and each country has its own guidelines on what should and shouldnt be done by a nurse, so these may vary. but everybody personalises :) so it depends on you and your doctor to figure it out.

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