In most cases where nurses are working, it’s expected that there’s a doctor involved, and the nurses are there to help the physician. Even at the nursing education level, prospective nurses are oriented to see their learning process as a way of preparing them to become doctor’s assistants. While being doctors’ assistants is one of the significant roles of a nursing practitioner, their work scope goes beyond that. Here are some of the things that show that nurses aren’t just doctor’s assistants:
1. Independent judgment
Unlike during those old days where nurses acted as doctors’ handmaidens, nowadays, nurses are expected to be independent thinkers. The modern nursing training and courses empower nurses to make decisions by themselves where necessary. No wonder it’s not uncommon to see them working autonomously in hospitals or primary care.
Besides, nurses are entirely held accountable for their actions. For instance, when a doctor prescribes an inappropriate medication, a nurse is expected to note the mistake and bring it to the attention of the doctor for the correct prescription. If the nurse acts as just a doctors’ handmaiden and goes ahead to administer the wrong treatment, both he/she and the doctor will be held responsible for the mistake independently and risk losing their licenses. Therefore, even though nurses are right-hand men for doctors, the former should not necessarily execute anything that comes from the latter.
Instead of just relying on the observations made by the doctor, a nurse should understand the underlying background of every patient they handle, and use their knowledge to establish the right treatment for each case. Having done that, they’ll be able to avoid adopting mistakes made by the doctors they are working with.
2. Bedside care
Once a doctor prescribes treatment to a patient, it’s upon a nurse to ensure it is administered well. However, a doctor will rarely give specific details of how some, if not all, of the necessary bedside care services, should be provided. Some doctors aren’t well versed in how things like bedsore management, IV pumps management, and mix up infusions are supposed to be done, leave alone instructing about the same. The majority of medical students learn such stuff from their nursing counterparts.
On the other hand, a nurse possesses a wide range of bedside care skills because it’s part of their education and what they do on the ground on a daily basis. That’s why a nurse is normally better in wound care as compared to a doctor. Therefore, in such cases, nurses work independently without expecting any guidance from doctors.
3. Offering moral support to patients
Also, it’s unheard of a doctor who guides their colleague nurse on how to deal with a patient who has received devastating news such as terminal illness diagnosis. In most cases, doctors leave nurses to use their professional and human touch to manage the fallout. Fortunately, nurses are spectacular at that and will be there for such patients and their families every step of the way to see them finally come to terms with the news. They’ll walk them through about the possible things to follow and how to manage or overcome the results.
However, although doctors are not much involved in giving such moral support as nurses do, it’s not to mean that they are less empathetic. In most cases, their nature of work doesn’t leave them with enough time for that. That’s why they leave it to nurses because it’s them (nurses) who are with patients after treatment prescription more often.
4. Ability to do what a primary physician does
Considering that the salary of a primary care physician is usually higher than of a nurse within the same job group, many countries don’t have enough primary physicians. For instance, new research by the Association of American Medical Colleges projects that the United States will experience a primary care physician shortfall of 49,300. As such, nurse practitioners have been prepared to step in and offer some primary physician services such as medication prescription and illness diagnosis. However, they’ll refer to severe health cases to primary physicians.
In a nutshell, nurses are healthcare specialists in their capacity, despite being the assistants of doctors. In most cases, doctors can’t work on their own (they need nurses), but nurses can work independently without doctors. If you want to start your career as nurse assistant, we suggest to start in this website. They offer free basic courses to give you a head start.