"but doctors are better than nurses"

  1. Alright, when I finish school I want to be a nurse, and I was talking with a friend today about 'House, MD' and i was like 'oh i hate that show it perpetuates the whole myth about nurses not actually doing anything and just being like assistants to the doctors,' etc. And she said "Oh well thats pretty true anyway, doctors can do everything that nurses can do, if they replaced every nurse with another doctor it would all run fine/better."

    Now I know that she is wrong, but I just couldnt seem to articulate why she was wrong. I'm sure that you have all had something simillar said to you, and I get the 'oh but why not do medicine, your smart enough...' thing all the time. Could you maybe help me with some responses to what my friend said? Not with 'why not be a doctor' i already have lots for that.

    Thankyou

    Jack
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  2. 35 Comments

  3. by   fakemusician
    well, we are trained differently. granted we share some of the basic knowledge with the doctors for patient safety, we are simply trained differently.
    i hope and pray the doctors know more than we do, since they are supposed to call the shots. i am just saying, even the best nascar driver can't necessarily change the tires under 60 seconds. we simply perform different funcitons to care for the patient.
  4. by   weetziebat
    Hmm.....actually I've never heard that one. A hospital full of just doctors, caring for the patients. My, wouldn't they all be beating each other down trying to schedule surgeries and prescribe meds galore? The fancy equipment would never have a chance to cool down.

    Their whole 'thing' is in curing. Very dramatic. Rush in for a few minutes, write some orders and get some tests - then their gone. Taking all the glory with them, by the way.

    If we had a hospital without nurses, who would be 'caring' - taking off orders, fighting with pharmacy, tracking down the lab for the blood results that should have been back hours ago, hunting for bed linens to change poopy sheets,calling dietary for the third time requesting a special diet, medicating patients (especially in NH's) without name tags, racing to hang I.V.'s and blood products, running up and down halls to answer call lights,listening to all the gripes from administrators, managers, families, patients, staff etc??? Oh, and being ever so cheery while you are doing it. Have to provide good customer service ya know - no excuses for poor bedside manners. Or illegible handwriting either.

    I could go on for hours, but you get the drift. The place wouldn't last a day. Not to mention where their salaries would be coming from. I'll be lucky to get a 3% yearly raise. Somehow don't think that would cut it with a M.D., do you?

    Would be a dang interesting experiment though. I would absolutely piss my pants watching a day in the hospital run by physicians!!!
  5. by   SarasotaRN2b
    When patients come to the hospital, it is for nursing care...yes, they get medical treatment, but they also require 24 hour medical care. If they didn't, they would just be outpatients.
  6. by   blynn
    What's that saying again? Doctors save lives, nurses save doctors.

    I work one on one with a surgeon as his office assistant. I triage all of his patient calls, make sure all of his orders get to the right people, assist with office procedures, schedule meetings and appointments, and so on and so on and so on... If he had to do all of this on his own, he wouldn't have time to do the surgeries that he spent so many years learning how to do. Nurses are not less important because they are not the ones handling the scalpel. They are the ones that the doctors are trusting to take care of things and hold down the fort so that they can go on and do more of what they were trained to do. As amusing as it would be for me to watch my doc try to do all of the dreaded FMLA paperwork and handle the voicemail from his patients and clean rooms and so on.. it really would not be a good way for him to spend his time, not with all of the demands that he has on it already. So yeah, I guess you could say 'I'm just an assistant', but I'd really like to see him get through his day without my help. And how many other nurses are helping him through his day? The OR nurses that assist him in his cases, the floor nurses at the hospital who will make sure that his patients are on the mend, and who will alert him if there is a problem. The home care staff making sure that orders are implemented in the home, the LTC nurses caring for our patients who are in nursing homes... and I am missing about a billion other people in this list, I know I am. No single person could ever be in all of those places taking care of all of those people at once.

    AussieJack, I guess I'd be really curious to know about what sort of experiance your friend has with hospitals and doctors and clinics and so on. It's been my experiance that most people have no idea about all of the things that go on behind the scenes. Most doctors come into contact with THOUSANDS of patients per year, so it stands to reason that they're gonna need help.

    Okay, I'll just step off of this soap box now.
    Last edit by blynn on Mar 1, '06
  7. by   Snuffy
    Unfortunately, it always seems to be an US vs THEM issue. Ideally speaking MDs and RNs are a team. RNs are with the pts 24/7, and we provide direct bedside care, we keep the MDs up to date with assessments etc. The MDs are the ones who take that info and decide whether more tests,meds etc are needed. In this collaborative setting we can and do provide excellent patient care. That said, reality can be a different story. I went to nsg school because I chose to, I knew I didn't want to be an MD, I have a lot of RNs in my family so maybe I'm biased, but direct pt care is my career of choice and I enjoy working in a setting where (fortunately for me) nursing thoughts/opinions are requested/respected by the MDs. So, long story short, RNs and MDs are not the same, nor should one be held in higher esteem than the other, we all serve in patient care capacities only in different roles as far as our duties are concerned.
  8. by   pugmum
    Quote from AussieJack
    ...And she said "Oh well thats pretty true anyway, doctors can do everything that nurses can do, if they replaced every nurse with another doctor it would all run fine/better."....
    You're friend is dead wrong. Doctors cannot do everything nurses can do. Doctors are very good at what they do, and that is doctoring. Nurses do nursing, and that is their field of expertise. The problem lies in everyone assuming that nurses are in the 'medical' field. Nurses are in the 'nursing' field. And until people realize that it is nurses that are experts in what they do, there will always be the misconception that they will always come second to doctors.

    For the life of me I cannot imagine a physician taking on a patient assignment that many nurses do on a shift. Can you imagine what they would do with 8 patients to look after who require multiple meds, IVs central lines, tubes, blood, are crashing, along with bed baths, cleaning dentures, and wiping bottoms? Have you ever seen a physician trying to 'help' by putting a patient on a bedpan? I have,and it wasn't a pretty sight. I never imagined that I would ever see someone trying to put an upside down bedpan under someone. That's not to say that they wouldn't be capable of doing it, but only if they had received education/training in basic nursing care. The same way that nurses could perform surgery if they received the appropriate eduation and training....

    Ok, enough already. I respect physicians for what they do, I wish nurses were granted the same respect. I might regret this post in the morning, but this is a major pet peeve of mine!
  9. by   Mirai Kangofu
    Pfft as wonderful as doctors can be, most MDs wouldn't know a healthy situation if it bit her in the butt and stole her wallet. Nurses see the patients over extended periods of times, through good and bad, while doctors only see patients when something is wrong. If nurses became extinct, I'd forsee a 1000% increase in prescribed medications as well as tons of unnecessary treatments. Nurses need to know EVERYTHING that could possibly go wrong.

    Your friend is a slave to media portrayal, which proves that simply adding a token minority nurse who eventually makes the "smart" decision to go to med school is harmful to the nursing field. This ticks me off to no end. Even if someone says something like, "But nursing is hard, and if you're going to follow the curriculum then you might as well be a doctor," it still ticks me off because it insinuates that nursing = underachieving. I always tell people that doctors cure diseases, but nurses heal people. If they say that I'm too smart to be a nurse, I say something along the lines of, "So dumb people who can't sense subtle fluctuations in health and can't respond to emergencies should be directly taking care of you?"
    Last edit by Mirai Kangofu on Mar 1, '06
  10. by   Thunderwolf
    Doctors are very good at what they do, and that is doctoring. Nurses do nursing, and that is their field of expertise. The problem lies in everyone assuming that nurses are in the 'medical' field. Nurses are in the 'nursing' field. And until people realize that it is nurses that are experts in what they do, there will always be the misconception that they will always come second to doctors.
    Wonderfully stated.
  11. by   JVanRN
    Quote from Thunderwolf
    Wonderfully stated.
    I'll be lame and throw in another "I agree". Many people make the assumption that nurses are merely MD flunkies. Or people who didn't "go all the way in med school".

    My grandparents actually asked me why didn't I just go for my MD since it "was just a few more years of school". They weren't trying to slam nursing/nurses but they genuinely thought it was the same educational track...I just cut mine short so I ended up as a nurse. I explained that, no...I would have to start all over again. SOME of the basic courses might be the same...but not enough to reason that becoming an MD is an extension of RN schooling. Lots of people are genuinely suprised when they find out what a nursing education entails. T

    hey are suprised at the amount of science, "doctor stuff" that we are required to know. Being able to understand meds, labs, and radiology results isn't merely "doctor stuff"...it's basic things a good nurse needs to know. I'm not knocking doctors. I think the good one's are great and have the utmost respect for them. But they are only one person and can't be every where at the same time. Many times a doctor's decisions are dependent on what a nurse tells him about a patient. Doctors need nurses and nurses need doctors. We are all important and perform a vital role in the care of the patient. It isn't a case of whose "better" than who. 2 completely different jobs. I won't even go into a hospital staffed with all doctors. Just the salary alone would be a budgeting nightmare
  12. by   janetrette
    i knew i wanted to be a nurse because i wanted to do patient care.
  13. by   DutchgirlRN
    I have a T-shirt I wear to work occasionally and each time I do the doctor's always comment on it saying, "Wow, that's true", or "I couldn't do your job"

    It says: NEED A DOCTOR? .........CALL A NURSE.......
  14. by   imenid37
    Last weekend, the ER physician sent me a patient who was 18 weeks gestation with pain in the uppper abdomen for one week. Why if you've had it for a week do wait until Sat. night at 12 a.m. to be seen? I do not know. Pt. had a 4 year old who seemed to be driving her crazy in tow, but was not in any acute distress. Labs were ok and vs too. FH was auscultated by doppler in the ER. "She needs an NST and to be on the monitor for contractions." I politely explained to the doc that an NST could not be obtained on this patient and that the EFM was not really designed for a pt. of this gestation, even just for contractions. Did he want a vag exam? No he wanted me to do what the doctor asked. I told him no can do. It is not appropriate care for this patient. We palpated for contractions for 30 min. and auscultated FH again. We sent her back to the ER. This guy could not accept that he didn't know what he was talking about. He didn't want to listen to a nurse. He couldn't accept that I do have some expertise here and he has less in this particular respect. I wouldn't tell him anything about suturing or ACLS, but geez I do know what I am doing when it comes to evaluating this type of pt. The ironic thing is this guy is a nice man in general and he is married to a nurse.

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