To me, this comes back to a key issue.... what *is* nursing? Nurses can *do* many things... from emptying trash cans, to intubating in an emergency. From giving injections, to taking a health history, to identifying medication errors, to assessing hemodyamic status, to teaching safer sex. From circulating, to scrubbing, to 'first assist'.
But what is it that nurses offer that is actual *nursing care* as opposed to care/service that a nurse happens to be well-positioned/well-qualified to learn and to perform but is not necessarily *nursing care*? What is the *nursing* knowledge/skills that logically would be at the heart of nursing education to make for the safe and competent practice of *nursing*?
For example, patient education is an important responsibility of many nursing roles but I don't see it as "nursing care" per se. A good dietician will also provide education during their dietary consult. A good physical therapist will also provide education while going through exercises with the patient.
While not not all nurses provide personal hygiene assistance for someone incapacitated in some manner, such care is generally considered "nursing care", is it not?
And while some non-nurse personnel do participate in activities such as on-going monitoring, & treatment provision (such as med aides, pt care techs), it, too, is generally considered "nursing care", is it not?
Activities to prevent deterioration and complications (early ambulation, position changes, bandage changes, etc) generally are considered "nursing care", whether or not a professional nurse is providing the service (eg 'nursing' one's family member).
I've gone away from the specific issue of RNs in the OR, but I see it all as interrelated. My 2.5 cents!