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‘I read your blog’ said one of our junior doctors following up with ‘what do you think of that? A doctor reading a nurse’s blog’ said with a cheeky wink while ducking behind the nurses station.
As you know I’m not averse to a bit of friendly banter but it made me think about whether there still remains a discipline hierarchy, even in 2020.
Don’t we need each discipline to ensure the patient’s hospital admission is successful, timely and smooth? Let’s face it, medical clinicians oversee the admission but they can’t do everything. Nurses are the eyes and ears, 24 hours a day and probably have a more in-depth relationship with the patient.
I respect my medical colleagues and I feel that they respect me and value my clinical opinion but do nurses still feel that they are the ‘poor relation’ in the multidisciplinary team?
Is it unusual for medical clinicians to read literature produced by nurses? Do nurses read literature in medical journals? I don’t know but I do think that we should stand shoulder to shoulder with our multidisciplinary team colleagues.
Patients don’t usually just ‘keel over’. We know there is usually a period of deterioration and nurses are the ones that will observe this and escalate it while starting protocols to manage the deterioration.
“We should stand shoulder to shoulder with our multidisciplinary team colleagues, not one step behind”
On occasion I have seen my patient start to deteriorate before their observations reflect it and this is what makes the role of the nurse indispensable and special.
It is also why nurses need to be involved in clinical reviews, service evaluations, audits and research with our multidisciplinary team colleagues. We must not shy away as our input is vital to all of the above and we should stand shoulder to shoulder with our multidisciplinary team colleagues, not one step behind.
I am not saying that nurses are not respected by our multidisciplinary team colleagues but I get the feeling that some nurses feel that their role is somehow less important.
Being a nurse means we are the patient’s advocate so we need to be autonomous practitioners and sometimes this may mean we have to question a senior clinician’s decision. We shouldn’t be scared to professionally question decisions as long as it is done in an appropriate way as all multidisciplinary team members have the same aim and that is for the patient to have a successful admission and a safe and timely discharge.
Nurses are a crucial part of that team so don’t be shy. The doctors I work with very much want nurses to communicate with them and value their input.
So dust those shoulders off and stand up proud next to the rest of the team.
Sian Rodger is patient education and health coaching lead, London Spinal Cord Injury Centre