Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Are nurses better than doctors?

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 14 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2010
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

Job induction 1993 style—five junior doctors, a whiff of stale cigarettes and sweat, we present for duty in Glasgow casualty department one Sunday morning. We have no trauma experience, no senior supervision, just some old, thumbed textbooks. A “not seen one, not done one—do one” culture, our ignorance was our security blanket. We provided 24 hour cover, seven days a week, with no study leave for six months before we all changed over. How could this dysfunctional system work? Nurses. They held our hands; stopped us; and prompted us in …

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