Intended for healthcare professionals


What's happening to nursing?

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 29 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:274
  1. Jane Salvage
  1. Regional adviser for nursing and midwifery Regional Office for Europe, World Health Organisation, DK 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

    The traditional division of labour between nurses and doctors is changing

    British nursing has notched up many successes in the past decade. Nursing practice, underpinned by radical reform of nursing education, has shifted from a task centred approach towards personalised care; other innovations have improved the quality of care; and research and critical thinking are flourishing. It is an impressive record.

    Against this backdrop, understanding why Christine Hancock, that most lucid and reasonable of union leaders, should find herself leading the Royal College of Nursing in an assault on the government may be difficult. Yet, far from feeling buoyed up by their recent achievements, nurses are experiencing what Carpenter calls “a much deeper sense of betrayal than the difference between 1% and 3% in pay (p 338).”1 Something has gone badly wrong. While nurses” concern over pay is real, it has also acted as a trigger for their discontent over the state of the profession and the …

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