Interprofessional Working Together
Although the Radiographers’ role mainly is to diagnose illness, treatment and ensure patient care by contributing to the patient treatment decision / pathway but the nurses role of advocating and devoted patient care are equally important to the interprofessional team. My experience working with other profession especially the Adult Nurses and the Doctors, witness the existences of similarity and differences between both professions.
Prominent difference noticed was boundaries between professional roles and areas of responsibilities. Thus the role of the nurse in the past could be seen as that of a handmaiden (NMC 2008) who was there to carry out the doctors’ prescriptions with little say in what happened in decision of patient pathway treatment, organisation and planning while the Doctors are seen as lead of the pack.
This role of nurses must have been the role 20 years ago because nurses are taking on vital role like working in the theatre, community and even training to become advanced practitioner. Doctors have always worked closely with nurse and both share clinical ideas towards achieving a patient centred care. However, the nature of the doctor–nurse relationship is still a contentious issue (NMC 2008).
Unlike the radiographer who are guided by the professional code of conduct, Doctors and Adult Nurses sought to preserve their own professional identity leading to identity confusion rather than have professional ego identity as defined by Marcia (1966) Ego-identity status theory suggested that ego-identity status is neither identity resolution nor identity confusion but is the extent to which one has both explored and committed to an identity in a variety of life domains including politics, occupation and religion and this professional identity confusion is result in lack of communication or inappropriate communication between the Doctor and Nurses. Although, traditionally within the NHS this communication has relied on written formats – referral forms, feedback forms, case notes, care plans, letters, faxes and message book but Purtilo and Haddad (1996) stress that verbal communication is essential to the patient and health professional relationships. However, quality record-keeping and evidence-based policies and procedures are necessary; they can result in ‘inactive collaboration’, with each professional group having a rigid and singular input into patient care (Daly 2004) concluded.
In a paradoxical sense, there are element of similarities and collaborative team work between the various interdisciplinary profession (Doctors / Adult Nurses) because they both bring their expertise together towards one shared objective “Patient Care” NHS (2000), and the individual professional willingness to work together toward achieving objectives and goals to provide a plan care which is individualized to the patient’s needs. The two professions also utilize individual skills and talent to reach the highest of patient care standards. Another similarity is that both the Doctors and adult nurses are registered to a regulated professional body like the Society of Radiographer (SOR) for the radiographers and Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the Adult Nurses, British Medical Council (BMC) for the Doctors and are guided by individual professional code of practice / conduct. Both professions are also guided by local rules.
Haven worked and been around Doctors and adult nurses at various hospital during my clinical placement through year 1 and 2, I have now realize that my initial perception of adult nurses of been: handmaiden, low achievers academically and a profession with low regard was stereotype and is capable of undermining the adult nurses professional role in a collaborative NHS environment and my initial opinion has changed because I have now realize adult nurses is not just a well recognise profession but also an angel to patient during illness crisis period, they are good carer, the limbs in every clinical environment while Doctors are the eyes and brains, above all, adult nurses are knowledgeable professional to work with.
On the other hand, my previous thought of Doctors as figure-head aristocrat is changed because I have worked closely with the profession (during year 2 clinical placement), I found Doctors to be an intellectual professional whose knowledge, skills and training help to save life. Although, my perception of Adult Nurses is become encouraging but the challenges are: in my profession (Radiography) the majority of my qualified peers / colleagues to whom I share professional identity / affiliation don’t share my views which makes it difficult for me because I don’t want to be seen as odd amongst my professional colleague and this peer pressure is my major problem.
Erikson (1968) and Harris (1998) both argued that an individual peer groups significantly influences their intellectual and personal development. Perhaps, this is why I often want to behave like my professional colleagues while at work. Another challenge I experience was the unwilling or uncompromising attitude among professions, perhaps the struggle for supremacy or the Adult Nurse believes the Radiographers are full of ego and authoritative, in a fight back Nurses became unsupportive towards a smooth patient imaging within their department, while communication remains a challenge that have existed because of professional boundaries In conclusion, for professionals to work together there must be a degree of understanding via good communication and respect for one another.