Are nurses and doctors equal?

  1. I feel like this question as been abused over time but I think in nursing school I was taught to respect my position and the importance of nursing care in patient's outcomes. Although I respect the doctor tremendously, should I consider myself an equal? Or a subordinate? I feel like it matters in terms of nurse to patient interaction. I do have patients who value my logic and thought processes but also who think I am the doctor's lackey. I think to be a nurse you have to have humility and for one's ego to be set aside because our decisions do require medical supervision. And I don't have problems being humble.

    I still consider myself a new-ish nurse with a lot to learn about nursing. I consider myself competent with a commitment to learning. I am still working on confidence building.

    Thoughts?
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    About SisterofMary

    Joined: May '16; Posts: 52; Likes: 119

    65 Comments

  3. by   TekkiNurse
    I believe that we are equal but it's like comparing apples to oranges. Nurses and doctors need to work together and see each other as doing equally important jobs, equally as valuable..because that is going to give the best patient outcome. Doctors are not always right and neither are nurses. No one is perfect. So often times nurses must speak up when they are in disagreement with another team member, when it's in best interest of the patient. That's patient advocating, which is part of everyone's job. So it's not only important to value ourselves as much as doctors, but also everyone else. Everyone is valuable and equal in that respect...even the housekeeping.
  4. by   brownbook
    I never heard this question...so I wasn't aware it had been abused.

    I don't think I'm equal to a doctor, but that in no way translates to being subordinate or a lacky.

    Honestly I don't understand your post.
  5. by   JKL33
    Your article on this site states that you went to nursing school eight years ago. Why on earth would you be spinning your wheels with such an inane concern?
  6. by   JBudd
    Nurses are equal as human beings, worthy of respect, being heard, consulted, and treated well. In the hierarchy of health care itself, the doctor's diagnosis, orders and more lengthy/in depth education will take priority; making me "subordinate". Not lesser, any more than a corporal is less than his sergeant, but one is held to a greater level of responsilbilty.
  7. by   Elfriede
    Look at the paycheck...
  8. by   RNperdiem
    What form of equal do you mean? Statistically doctors are more likely to come from upper middle class backgrounds, have more years of education and make more money.
  9. by   cleback
    In the eyes of your future employer, no. Doctors perform services that bring the money into the organization. Nurses, not really. It realistically comes down to money.
  10. by   HIPAAPotamus
    I think each has a value and importance. Saying one is more important than the other, or one is a subordinate, minimizes the idea that all members of the health care team are working towards a common goal: the treatment of the patient.
  11. by   brownbook
    I am confused, a paycheck and money have something do to with being equal or subordinate to someone else? Please explain.
  12. by   klone
    Quote from brownbook
    I am confused, a paycheck and money have something do to with being equal or subordinate to someone else? Please explain.
    Are you really confused, or is this a rhetorical question? Are you referring to Clebeck's response? Because I can definitely validate what s/he is saying - in the eyes of the hospital, the physician is definitely higher in the hierarchy than a nurse. Physicians make money for the hospital; nurses cost money.
  13. by   SisterofMary
    Quote from JKL33
    Your article on this site states that you went to nursing school eight years ago. Why on earth would you be spinning your wheels with such an inane concern?
    I got into a discussion with someone in terms of nurse/doctor relations. They stated that nurses weren't equal to doctors because of schooling/knowledge/pay....which I agreed with. Though I said that doesn't minimize the importance of nurses (and other healthcare members) when it comes to the patient's health. Though they continued to say that nurses were "dispensable" because a doctor can do anything a nurse can do but not vise versa. I wasn't insulted so to speak though taken aback. I have had a few of the "Why a nurse, not a doctor?" conversations in my past but just wanted some other opinions so I respond to such statements in the future. That's why this came to my head.
  14. by   klone
    Well, sure. They are legally allowed to do anything a nurse can do. Doesn't mean they will, or want to. Therefore, there will always be nurses. One isn't less than or greater than the other. They're entirely different roles.

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