Quote from Marisette
Has anyone noticed that pharmacist at major drug chains administer flu, pneumonia, and other vaccines at large pharmaceutical chains. The medical assistant at my doctors office calls in medications for me because they don't hire RN's. In the hospitals we have nursing aids, & patient care technicians assist with patient care. I know the value of RN's doing the many functions, but I ask myself when did personnel or professionals from other disciplines start performing what was once mostly performed by RN's.
Could this be part of the reason new grads. can't find employment, or frankly many nurses in different markets. Why bother hiring RN's ? I Know that nurses do more than administer medications, call in medications and perform other physical labor, but sometimes I ask myself if the push for more anxillary health care help is slowly replacing the need for RN's. I recall getting injections from RN's at the large pharmaceutical chains years ago, but now the pharmacist administers. They hire nurse practioners for the outpatient clinics at the large phamaceutical chains or drug stores, but they are advanced degree Registered Nurses. Does anyone value a nurse with a simple RN behind her name anymore?
OK this is a great question, and I hope none of the responses are angry or defensive!!! lol. You mentioned a few tasks here that are replaced by ancillary or other healthcare staff:
1) administering medications and immunizations
2) coordinating medication refills (performing administrative tasks)
3) assisting patients with activities of daily living (toileting, hygeine, etc) by nurses aides
Take a deep breath, because thankfully nursing is SO MUCH MORE and could never be defined by these tasks alone, nor be replaced by pharmacists or patient care assistants. What you are missing here is that the special contribution nurses make revolves around the nursing process (are you in school and studying this?). Nurses are the EYES and EARS for physicians and other disciplines. Our assessment skills combined with our knowledge of disease and disease management, nutrition, psychology and pharmacology, make us irreplaceable by a less educated patient care technician or a pharmacist whose training focuses on pharmacological treatment (not that these people aren't extremely valuable). We are so much more than just people performing tasks. We continuously assess our patients' condition using our knowledge acquired through a vigorous degree program and we assess patients' response to treatment, and changes in health status and then inform and collaborate with physicians and other disciplines. We educate patients on symptom management and disease prevention. We use psychosocial skills to help our patients increase their levels self-care and autonomy. In my bachelor's program I am learning about assessing nursing research to use scientific evidence to influence the care I give my patients. We are much more than talking pill dispensers, and while some will never value us, for the most part the healthcare system seems to realize that educated RNs are essential to certain aspects of patient care. While I would agree that medical assistants and LPNs have replaced nurses in doctors' offices and some long-term care settings, I do not see any push for the replacement of RNs in acute care settings, educational roles or care coordination.