Is nursing perceived as a professional partner with other disciplines?
Based on my previous and current work environment, my perception is that nursing is a profession partner with other disciplines. In my prior experience as a hospice nurse, it would have been impossible to provide a safe and effective care to my patient during their last stage of life without the interdisciplinary team. At my current job, in the hospital setting, I also believe that many disciplines work together with the same purpose: to deliver the best patient care. According to Prentice et al. (2015) inter-professional collaboration is considered to be critical for an efficient care and it affects the daily nursing practice. Even though nurses are the professionals who spend most of the time with the patients, nursing practice has its limitations. For example, we are not allowed to make decisions and we always need a doctor’s order for whatever treatment the patient needs. Of course, we can make suggestions, but at the end is the physician who decides and write the order. Black (2017) mentioned that nurses are independent practitioners and have autonomy, however, their scope of practice depends on the supervising physician.
Hospital acquired pneumonia and ventilator acquired pneumonia are common in hospitals, nevertheless, can not be diagnosed and treated without an X-ray. Radiologists and radiologic technologists are important professional partners who collaborate in the care of patients. Based of the radiologic reports, doctors write treatment orders and nurses implement them. In addition, respiratory therapists do their part for the patient recovery. Rickards and Kitts (2018) showed how important is the work of the respiratory therapists in the community and how their profession is evolving. There are pilot programs where a partnership between RTs and RNs worked together to use their knowledge and proficiency to support patients with COPD.
Laboratory testing is another discipline that plays an important role in the multidisciplinary team. Laboratory technicians partner with nurses and physicians to decide which is the next step in the patient treatment. For example, even though there are signs and symptoms of urinary tract infections, it is the lab result the ones that will determine if an infection is present. Moreover, if a urine culture was performed, the physician can determine the best antibiotic for that type of microorganism.
There are many other disciplines that collaborate with nursing, such as wound specialists, managers, leaders, informatics, patient care technicians, dialysis technicians, social workers, chaplains, physical and occupational therapists, dietitian, etc. They all bring their expertise and knowledge with the same objective, that is to achieve the best outcome for the patients. Once again, my perception is that nurses and other disciplines build a partnership in order to provide the best care.
Black, B. P. (2017). Professional Nursing Concepts and Challenges (8th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Prentice, D., Engel, J., Taplay, K., & Stobbe, K. (2015). Interprofessional Collaboration. Global Qualitative Nursing Research, 2, 233339361456056. doi:10.1177/2333393614560566
Rickards, T., & Kitts, E. (2018). The roles, they are a changing: Respiratory Therapists as part of the multidisciplinary, community, primary health care team. Canadian Journal of Respiratory Therapy, 54(4), 83-85. doi:10.29390/cjrt-2018-024
My current work environment is very challenging and also very rewording at the same time. I’m a night nurse I work from 7PM-7AM although my shifts rarely end at the time they’re supposed to. I usually leave at about 7:45 a.m. Sometimes it can be as late as 10 a.m., depending on what’s been going on and how the patients are doing. There’s no such thing as a routine day in a hospital. We deal with wide range of responsibilities and tasks that they’re continuously prioritizing. My days dictated by the kind of patients that come through the facility and the procedures they’re there for. Since I work in the ICU, the patients I see are battling with life-threatening issues, as of lately it has been mostly Covid-19 positive patients, and their chronic conditions making treating covid-19 a little harder, each day at the hospital brings a new set of challenges.
There’s never a typical day as we see all types of patients, and they all handle this virus differently and are in a vulnerable state which they can deteriorate quickly, which keeps me on my toes. But while the patients and situations may change, in the ICU we a care routine that we must be adhered to at all times. We monitor each patient closely and observe a strict care schedule across the ward, each day begins with a full handover from the day team followed by a meet-and-greet with any new patients, then I carry out full-body assessments on my patients and make a note on their medical chart of everything I see. Throughout the day patients are assessed from top to toe every four hours, and rounds are completed hourly. Also, as a critical care nurse, I respond to any codes that occur around the hospital. Code calls definitely add an extra bit of excitement and adrenaline to the day. I think nursing is perceived as a nursing partner. Nursing is considered to be one of the highest professional practice in patient care who serve continuously in the improvement of our patient conditions. We cannot work alone, we always work in a multidisciplinary team which consists of different professionals from different disciplines. When a patient gets admitted we work along with the physicians, lab technicians, caretakers, physical therapist, surgeons, anesthetist, nutritionist, all of these disciplines acts as a professional partner for nurse and in improving the quality of care for our patients.
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