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Where Do Nurses Fit in the Delivery of Health Care?

Thelma Ingles, RN
Arch Intern Med. 1971;127(1):73-75. doi:10.1001/archinte.1971.00310130077009.
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Not many years ago, responsibility for health care was carried by two primary categories of personnel—doctors and nurses, and most hospital services were gratuitously provided by house staff and student nurses. Everyone worked hard, and everyone was expected to work hard—the price one paid for an education.

Doctors and nurses were respected members of the community, caring for people, committed to the promotion of health and welfare. Only charlatans bore the taint of commercialism. Few patients or families questioned the sincerity of caring, or the quality of care given by the health professionals. Sickness and death were attributed to the will of God, a burden on God, but a reprieve for doctors and nurses.

The reprieve is over. In this age of protest and confrontation, no one is immune to surveillance, blame, or attack. Despite abundant evidence of remarkable progress in the health field, the professionals have been unable to


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