Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Nurses save lives

Some, reading this blog, may think I’m anti-nurse. It is an accusation frequently levelled at doctors, especially those of us who express our doubts about ‘nurse practioners’ and their ilk. We are apparently arrogant, protectionist and power hungry, our concerns having nothing to do with patients and the care they receive.

Funnily enough the ‘dumbing down’ of medicine is happening across the health service and beyond – with nurses replaced by HCAs, teachers by teacher’s assistants although one notes that MPs have yet to be replaced with ‘parliamentary practioners’.
Funnily enough once the boot is on the other foot the nurses are not so happy to see their ‘professional area’ taken over by under-trained upstarts.

Into this debate comes some nursing research. Nursing research is not renowned for its intellectual rigor or applicability to patients, being all too often pseudo-sociological examinations of the condition of ‘being a nurse’. However some good work is done, and Prof Rafferty of Kings in London is to be congratulated on proving what many of us (evil, nurse hating) doctors have suspected for a while- that higher nurse to patient ratios on wards improve outcomes. In fact higher ratios would seem to improve mortality by 26%- which is as good as many medical therapies.

So now the truth is out- nurses nursing patients produce mortality benefits. Nurses playing at being doctors –who knows, but wouldn’t their time be better spent doing what they do best and reducing ward mortality? CAMRN (Campaign for real nursing) is launched here and unlike CAMRA no beards or sandals are required.

40 Comments:

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