Appendix 18a - Nursing

by Michael Greger, MD and United Progressive Alumni

[ Medical School Resources | Appendices | Discussion ]

From JAMA: "Women work more than two-thirds of the world's working hours, yet they earn less than 10% of the world's income and own less than 1% of the world's property."[253]

Nursing Back to Health

In 1945, nurses earned one-third of physicians' incomes. In 1981, nurses were being paid less than one-fifth of what physicians earned. From an article in the Pharos: "Let's give equitable financial arrangements, not just in salaries, but in insurance reimbursements for their work, to be paid directly to nursing and to nurses providing the services."[254]

Social historian Susan Reverby identifies the nursing profession's central dilemma as, "being ordered to care in a society that refuses to value caring."[255] From Getting Doctored: "Those who undertake to become nurses with any but the most limited perspective soon find themselves doing work that betrays their ideals, their aspirations and their conception of what their roles should be."[256]

Talking to Patients

In a study of "Medical Students' Views of the Role of the Nurse," fewer than 20% of the third- and fourth-year students surveyed exhibited an awareness that nurses had legitimate roles that were independent of physicians' orders and expectations. Let's also, the Pharos article decries, "give up militaristic words like 'orders' and call them 'patient treatment plans instead of 'doctor's orders'...."[257] From Nursing Research:

Nearly 70% of the male students believed physicians [automatically] were the appropriate leaders of the healthcare team in all circumstances.... The nurses role [was described as]... 'wipes asses' and 'does garbage stuff...' Third year medical students emphasized their nurses were responsible for 'bed pans,' 'talking to patients'....[258]

Medical Students' views on women in general - Appendix 18b.


[253] Journal of the American Medical Association 280(1998):462.

[254] Hook, EW. "Is there a Feminist Disdain for Nursing?" The Pharos 1994(Summer):36-40.

[255] Moccia, P. "At the Faultline." Nursing Outlook 36(1988):30-33.

[256] Shapiro, M. Getting Doctored Santa Cruz, CA: New Society Publishers, 1987:187.

[257] Hook, EW. "Is there a Feminist Disdain for Nursing?" The Pharos 1994(Summer):36-40.

[258] Webster, D. "Medical Students' Views of the Role of the Nurse." Nursing Research 34(1985):313-317.

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