[Change in perspective. One's profession from the viewpoint of others: how do nurses feel they are being perceived by physicians in professional interactions?]

Pflege. 2003 Oct;16(5):297-303. doi: 10.1024/1012-5302.16.5.297.
[Article in German]


Collaboration between nursing personnel and physicians (and vice versa) on a medical ward is a fragile issue. There seems to be a need to rebuild this collaboration whenever there is a change of staff on the ward. This act can consume valuable resources and is basically influenced by the image of nursing personnel, and physicians among the other profession, respectively. This article presents the findings based on 18 interviews with physicians (eleven males/seven females), and 25 interviews with nursing personnel (five males/20 females) from two units of internal medicine of two confessional academic hospitals each with ca. 350 beds in a big city in Northern Germany. Both occupational groups experienced the reflection of their own professional image in a different way. Physicians seemed to be rather ignorant where their image among the nursing staff is concerned. In their answers they talked about qualifications of nurses in general and did not reflect upon their own image among nursing personnel. Nursing personnel often expected a social and a professional feedback from the physicians in spite of the fact that physicians are not experts in nursing. This may be due to the lack of a professional (not organizational) hierarchical context for the nursing personnel. The deficit of an own organizational structure of supervision, incentives and disincentives weakens the position of nurses in the context of a hospital.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Hierarchy, Social
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine
  • Male
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Personal Construct Theory
  • Physician-Nurse Relations*
  • Power, Psychological