Doctor, Doctor…Where’s My Nurse?
We often think of the doctor as the most skilled medical professional, particularly in relation to nurses. If you take a look at the hospital programs on TV, you’ll see that the focus is typically on the doctors. Grey’s Anatomy, ER, Scrubs, Chicago Med. You can probably name a heartthrob doctor from each whether it’s McDreamy, Dr. Cox or whoever George Clooney played. Try naming one of the nurses though, and you’ll probably struggle. In fact, at one point when Scrubs was airing nurses actually complained that it wasn’t an accurate portrayal of their role in the hospital. This should tell you a lot about how we view the medical roles and whether there is any truth behind the fiction.
But why do we idolize and worship doctors? Well, the media is certainly partially to blame here, building them up to be Gods in white coats when really, it’s the nurses that do most of the legwork. You might then say, okay but doctors have all the knowledge. Doctors spend nearly ten years studying, past the four that they begin with at the start of their career, which is true. So, it is fair to wonder what real skills nurses have compared to doctors. But once you discover the facts you might be surprised which is why the next time you go to hospital you might want to spend more time speaking to your nurse. You might be surprised by their level of skill, their knowledge and how much attention they are willing to give you.
Do Doctors Care?
We are brought up around the idea that doctors care about their patients. That they are doing their job to ensure that other people live and get the best quality of life possible? Is this true? It’s certainly part of the reason, but it’s not the only factor that potential doctors consider when choosing their career. First of all, there’s a certain level of prestige that comes with studying medicine and working to become a doctor. If you want the top prestigious careers, it’s medicine, or it’s law. Either one will ensure that people look to you with respect and a certain level of admiration. Now part of their job is saving lives and helping people in need. But it’s not like they aren’t rewarded for their efforts.
Doctors often receive seriously insane salaries. A neurosurgeon can earn close to three hundred thousand annually. It is worth pointing out that people like this are completing one of the most advanced jobs in the world and it requires a lot of skills as well as excellent hand-eye coordination. So, this is one of the areas where the media has highlighted the truth. Doctors are paid obscene amounts of money, and as such despite saving lives, they are being rewarded. So one could argue that this is more important to them than the overall result.
On the other hand, nurses don’t receive massive salaries, and many just get the minimum wage. They work the same as hours as doctors and receive very few of the benefits. They are the undervalued, underpaid and underappreciated part of the medical team.
You might question whether this is speculatory. After all, the fact that doctors get paid more doesn’t mean they’re just in it for the money or even prestige. That’s true, but what about the time they spend with patients?
Getting To Know Your Caregiver
Again, the media would lead you to believe that a stay in a hospital will mean that you get to know your doctor and the people who are looking after you. You might have some one on one time with them and perhaps develop a lasting bond but don’t be fooled. This type of experience is rare, and instead, research shows that doctors may spend as little as ten minutes with their patients each day. That’s not enough time to form a relationship, a bond, or even share an extended greeting.
It’s clear that doctors then are there to provide a diagnosis, a treatment plan and very little else. So, who is actually responsible for ensuring that you take your medicine, get the treatment administered that you need or aren’t left in discomfort. That’s the role of the nurse. They will be the ones who hold your hand and ensure that you feel looked after. If you do have a bond with anyone it’s going to be them or the person, you are sharing your room with. Generally speaking, it’s the nurse who is going to listen to your issues and ensure you get the help and support you need. It’s for this reason that you may want to ask for your nurse rather than a doctor when you visit a hospital. But it’s definitely not the only reason.
Are Doctors More Qualified?
You might think that when you speak to a doctor, you are talking to someone who is far more qualified than the typical nurse, but is this true? The answer may well be no, and the reason for this is simple. Nurses can now receive additional levels of training, designed to help them reach or nearly match the level of a doctor. A nurse could apply for a nursing practitioner degree. As a nursing practitioner, nurses will have the knowledge, skill, and ability to arrange certain treatment plans for patients and make decisions without the help or need of doctors. As such, by speaking to a nurse practitioner, you can have the best of both worlds. They can help you by having a vast array of knowledge and skills while having the time to make sure you get the right level of attention.
What’s The Difference Between Nurses And Doctors?
Again, you might think that there is a vast array of difference when comparing these two careers and jobs. But according to official guidelines for nurses and doctors, that’s not true. When looking at official job descriptions, there is only one clear difference. Nurses must be able to interact and communicate effectively with patients. Doctors don’t need to, it’s not part of their job requirement. This is why when you speak to a doctor it can often feel as though they are speaking double dutch. You might not understand a word they are saying, and it’s only later when speaking to a nurse that you understand the medical procedure that you’re about to undergo.
Again, for a doctor, it’s all about completing a procedure, diagnosing the patient or perhaps finding the right treatment. A nurse’s role has a little more depth providing the full level of support that patients might need.
It has been described in the past as nurses being the limbs of the body while doctors are the eyes and ears. Essentially, neither can function particularly well without the other but for patients which is more important? Well, it depends on what you need. If you are just looking for a quick diagnosis, doctors are the ideal individual to speak to. But, if you need more support than that you might be better off speaking to a nurse. Or, even calling for your nurse while you are in hospital. At the very least, theoretically, you’ll have a better chance of actually speaking to a nurse.
A Desperate Need For More Nurses
You might have noticed that the last time you visited the hospital, there weren’t actually that many nurses around. Why is this? Well, it’s quite simple. Since nurses are undervalued and underutilized, it’s becoming a far less favorable option for a career. People are instead looking at different jobs that provide better benefits and a great level of pay for a role that is perhaps less taxing. You can earn more as a receptionist than you can as a nurse unless you have a practitioner degree.
This is why it’s important for people to understand the fact that nurses are crucial members of the hospital team. They are a necessary part of the system that needs to be appreciated. We need to show our support for nursing with more people choosing this career or perhaps just taking the time to say thanks to the person who is really managing your care when you are in the hospital. Or indeed, often when you go and see a doctor.
The Changing Opinion Of Doctors?
Although, recently there has definitely been a shift in opinion of doctors. With an increased number of medical malpractice lawsuits, people are thinking twice about trusting the opinion of their local doctor. Instead, they are moving on, and many are looking for help online. Self-diagnosing is a real issue in the medical industry today with many people simply looking up their symptoms online and picking the condition that fits the bill
Unfortunately, although the opinion of doctors has deteriorated, the opinion of nursing staff has remained the same. We simply don’t give them the respect that they deserve and that has to change. We need to realize that rather than asking to see a doctor we might be better looking out for the nearest nurse.
Image Credit: Medical