Coffee Break

Nurses Are Undervalued And That Needs To Change

Look at the media and you would think that nurses don’t complete a job on the same level as a doctor. If you look at the programs on TV you’ll find that most are based around the lives of doctors rather than nurses. Nurses are side characters, interchangeable individuals who rarely play any major part in the story. But is this how things are in real life? Actually, a recent report suggests that nurses are completely undervalued. They get a fraction of the pay of the average GP and complete virtually the same job.

If you don’t believe this is true, take a look at the official job requirements of a doctor compared with a nurse. The only difference is that nurses are required to communicate with patients. Both need excellent levels of medical training, the ability to write up reports and to complete medical procedures. Nurses just have to be able to talk with the patient as well.

You might think, okay but doctors do more hours don’t they? But again, evidence suggests otherwise. The same report reveals that nurses work the same long shifts as doctors and may have to work overtime without pay. They also often complete back to back shifts without breaks in between.

So, why are nurses so undervalued? Well, we assume that because doctors have more knowledge this makes them more valuable and thus they get the bigger paychecks. But, if nurses are completely the same level of work as doctors and spending more time with patients, perhaps it is time they received the respect they deserve.