Narrow Passageways: Nurses and Physicians in Conflict and Concert Since 1875
Nursing and medicine are interdependent entities that hold common goals of caring for the sick and curing or preventing illness and share social values of altruism and professional accountability. Still, physicians go about their work of diagnosing and treating disease without giving much thought to nurses; nurses teach patients, clean them, feed them, and support them through illness without paying much attention to physicians. But, as a condition of their practice, nurses and physicians occupy the same space at the bedside of the patient. This shared tenancy may be amicable, tense, or full of outright hostility. Whatever the emotional character of the relationship between nurses and physicians, the relationship itself rests on tradition, beliefs, and laws that stem from ideas of moral responsibility, control, expert knowledge, and correct social order. Any re-examination of the moral and social validity of the role of medicine in contemporary society requires scrutiny of the nurse-physician dyad. It is much easier to understand the issues related to the distribution of work and authority between nursing and medicine when the two disciplines are studied in historical context.
KeywordsWatchful Waiting Trained Nurse 19th Century Hospital Nurse Leader Graduate Nurse
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