Children’s views of nursing and medical roles: implications for advanced nursing practice
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Children’s views of nursing and medical roles: implications for advanced nursing practice

Heidi McDonald Time of conducting study was Research Assistant, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Southampton
Helen Rushforth Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Southampton

Aim: Changes in healthcare delivery make it increasingly likely that children accessing ambulatory care will receive their health assessment and management from nurses rather than junior doctors. As part of a larger study exploring the safety and efficacy of nurse-led pre-operative assessment (Rushforth et al 2006) this study aimed to discover children’s views of nursing and medical roles.

Method: Data were collected from 63 children using drawing and writing activity sheets during preadmission events.

Findings: Findings suggest that there is a clear demarcation in children’s minds between doctors and nurses. In addition to the gender differences, children saw ‘caring’ as a nursing role and ‘curing’ as a medical role. However, there has been some change since earlier studies with only three children noting that nurses ‘helped doctors’ or ‘did what doctors tell them’ and less than a quarter of the children drawing nurses with hats.

Conclusion: As with all other patients, children should be fully informed of the status of the practitioner undertaking their care; understanding how they perceive the roles of doctors and nurses will support this information giving.

Nursing Children and Young People. 18, 5, 32-36. doi: 10.7748/paed.18.5.32.s28