November 4, 2013

Nurses: Conductors of The Medical Orchestra

An acquaintance asked me to help with an assignment for grad school. They wished to know my thoughts on the projected nursing shortage, suggestions on how to address the shortage, how much do nurses contribute to patient outcomes, how hard/easy is the transition from student nurse to nurse grad, and how will the role of the nurse evolve with the Affordable Care Act.

Of course, I put some thought into my responses, but one question particular really got me thinking.

What do you think nurses contribute in terms of patient outcomes?

Nurses play a huge part in patient outcomes. If I had to give it a weight, I’d say 75%. Yes, it is the doctor who writes the orders, but it is the nurse who has to carry the orders out. An analogy I think of is that the nurse is the conductor of an orchestra. I read this months ago and although it is from a Critical Care nurse's perspective I think it applies to all areas of nursing:

The first commenter, Barbara Fagan couldn't have said it any better,

"I often felt like a conductor in an orchestra – meaning that some roles overlapped (I might be able to play piano but not cello so well…) or that I might be able to do things other professions can do, but that when working collaboratively within the interprofessional team, ... nurses plan, coordinate and execute care that that meets the constantly shifting needs of an unstable patient. Beautiful music to behold for any conductor or music lover!"

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