Academic Master

Health Care, Sociology

The Role of the Health or Social Care Professional

Comparing the roles of different professionals in the medical field

In the Medical profession, there are different kinds of professional and non-professional staff that are tasked with different duties. Among the key ones are Doctors, Nurse practitioners (NP), and physician assistants (PA). The Nurses and the assistants are tasked to sometimes prescribe medications, treat illnesses, and work faithfully with primary care physicians. The real differences between these professions occur in the education and training of each specialty. There are a few common responsibilities between physician assistants and nurses such as: Prescribing medication, performing physical examinations and assessments, obtaining medical histories, treating and diagnosing common injuries and illnesses, physicals and screenings, Administer vaccinations, interpreting and performing laboratory and diagnostic studies, screen and refer patients to specialists and other health care providers and counsel about nutrition and health.

In hospitals, it can be said that the doctors are the brains and the eyes while the nurses are the limbs. Both works requires the other’s presence. Without nurses, medical treatment or other services would come to a standstill whereas, without doctors, the diagnosis of the patient would not be delivered. Nurses are tasked to perform a wide array of obligations such as fixing meals or changing the bed sheets, drawing blood, and handling medical machinery and equipment. But they are not sanctioned to perform any of these duties without approval from the doctor. Doctors have to have specializations to be able to fully diagnose the roots of a problem or illness. For nurses, their sphere is more patient-oriented and task-oriented. A doctor may refer the patient to another doctor with a superior understanding of that illness if he is convinced that a patient’s condition is not within his range of specialty. However, the nurse is required to notify the substitute doctor of the condition of the patient and afterward keep a follow-up on the patient’s progress until he is discharged (NDG, 2017).
The physician assistant (PA) also works under the physician’s direction to deliver preventative and diagnostic care. They are an essential non-professional part of the medical team and doctors increasingly rely on them in the treatment and diagnosis of patients. Their main job duties include: Tracking the medical histories and symptoms of patients, ordering screenings and tests, analyzing their results with physicians, advising patients on preventive health care, providing a limited number of prescriptions, treating minor illnesses or injuries, and referring patients to specialists as needed. The main difference is that, unlike Nurses, the assistants must practice and work under the direct supervision of surgeons and physicians (BJ Dewar, 1992).

The Qualities and Values Required in the Nursing Profession

There are many skills and qualities required in the Nursing profession. To start with, communication skills are a basic requirement in any profession but in the nursing profession, it becomes one of the most critical aspects of the work. a nurse must have exceptional skills in communication, particularly with regard to listening and speaking. They should have the ability to follow directions without a problem and effortlessly communicate with families and patients. The ability to accept suffering and death without letting it get personal is crucial. Great nurses have empathy for the pain and suffering of patients. Providing comfort and compassionate care is a prime requirement because patients see nurses as their advocates. A good professional nurse should not only have strong interpersonal skills but also be able to perform well in a variety of situations with different kinds of people. They also have to work together with doctors, other nurses, and assistants on the staff.

The work of the nurse required frequent physical tasks including performing work for periods of time while standing, lifting objects that are heavy, and performing a number of demanding movements and operations on a daily basis. Nurses are required to exhibit professional values and respect rules and people. They have to always remain impartial and attentive to the confidentiality needs of people from different traditions and cultures. Nurses have to respect the wishes of the patient, above all. The core ethical values in their line of work include the promotion of health, caring, healing, and giving hope in response to the patient’s condition. They have to work with integrity and respect the moral wholeness and dignity of every patient or person unconditionally and without limitation. They have to work in diverse conditions, considering the differences or uniqueness of people’s values, ideas, or ethnicities. They have to portray excellence in implementing and co-creating transformative approaches with courageous resourcefulness and develop brilliance in nursing education in order to develop a diverse and strong nursing workforce that can care for the health of the global community (NMC, 2015).

Role Variation in the Nursing Profession

Today the number of nurses continues to rise annually, yet the conditions of more and more people and patients are becoming serious and complex and serious. In these circumstances, the challenge for nurses is to consistently deliver and work towards improving the quality of care. In today’s conditions, nurses require to be even more highly trained and be well-educated and critical thinkers in order to be able to make complex clinical decisions, which would definitely have been made by specialist doctors 50 years ago (Tiffin, 2012). Nurses may find themselves performing different roles depending on the nature of the healthcare facility. For example, performing the role of cardiac nurses. Since heart disease is the leading cause of death, these nurses assist patients that are ailing from heart disease to recover from surgery and the treatment for all types of heart conditions. Nurses in the cardiac field undergo specialized training to be able to check the cardiac patient’s physical symptoms and cater to the nutritional, emotional, or any other ongoing requirements of cardiac patients. Some nurses are required to work as critical care nurses. Those patients that have serious injuries or illnesses need close treatment and observation. Nurses who work in critical care use superior skills and knowledge to provide intensive intervention and therapy, perform assessments, support patients and control their life support systems. Nurses can also work in the neonatology line, wherein they care for critically ill or premature infants in a hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. These nurses are tasked with noting newborns’ progress and status, administering medications, as well as enlightening new mothers regarding their newborn babies, and answering any queries they may have about infant care. Some nurses work as perioperative nurses, who perform duties in surgical/operating rooms. These nurses are required to cater to patients after their surgeries. Their tasks include maintaining sterile operating room states during the surgery, assisting patients to recover after surgery, and monitoring patients during the process.

Registered nurses can also work in nursing homes as head nurses. Furthermore registered nurses can supervise certified nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses, under the direct supervision of the physician. Their supervisory tasks can include creating nursing work schedules and designating nursing assignments. Further nursing roles can include administering medications, preparing IVs, taking vital signs, or drawing blood. Registered nurses are also required to communicate with the family of a patient to report any changes in the patient’s current situation or health conditions (AU Online, 2017).

Role of Nursing Regulatory Bodies

Nursing Regulatory bodies perform a wide array of functions. The NMC or the Nursing and Midwifery Council in the UK is regulated for midwifery and nursing professions. They keep a record of all midwives, nurses and public health nurses qualified to practice nursing inside the United Kingdom. The NMC also reviews and set standards for nurse training, education, performance, and conduct, and is responsible to investigate any complaints about the fitness of a nurse to practice. Their stated role (NMC, 2016) is to protect the well-being and health of the public.

Set standards of training, education, performance, and conduct so that midwives and nurses can consistently provide quality healthcare during their careers as well as make sure that midwives and nurses keep their knowledge-base and skills updated. They also check whether the nurses are upholding the professional standards set by the NMC, and use transparent procedures to scrutinize midwives and nurses who are accused of falling short of set standards. The NMC is also the organization responsible for regulating the highest number of medical professionals in the United Kingdom. Before they begin to practice, midwives and nurses must be registered in the NMC body. Their code comprises all the professional standards of behavior and practice that midwives and nurses are required to adhere to. Any complaints made about midwives or nurses are also heard by the NMC which investigates the allegations as appropriate. They are granted the authority to limit a midwife or a nurse’s practice and to remove their registration in case of noncompliance or incompetence (NMC, 2016).

The consequences of Poor Supervision and Poor Team Work

To ensure high-quality nursing care, the clinical supervisor is given an important role. Proper supervision is required to improve patient care as well as the nurses’ professional and personal progress. For effectual supervision in nursing, it is necessary to establish and provide an infrastructure for supervision. To apply effective supervision, first, the overall competency of a supervisor is improved and enhanced. Just as good supervision improves productivity and relationships, conflicts can arise out of poor supervision, and lower nurse productivity or performance. It can also lead to anxiety, work weariness, and poor work relationships. The mismanagement of supervision also directly influences job satisfaction and quality of work. If the clinical supervisor does not properly manage training, problems can often crop up even if they did not exist before. Poor work supervision can also make good employees leave the job or cause absenteeism. Even for the advanced practice nurse, it is essential that proper supervision under a physician with prescriptive authority is done. The supervising doctor with prescriptive authority should routinely and regularly review the prescriptive patterns and practices of the advanced practice nurse. Proper supervision also includes a suitable consultation, referral, and collaboration between the supervising physician and advanced practice nurse. It is also reported that rather than a shortage of equipment or staff, patients suffer more from poor performance and poor supervision. It is often the case that the diagnosis has been done but the treatment doesn’t follow the appropraiate course (McGrath, 2012).
The significance of teamwork is well recognized in research, from classroom learning to high-performing organizations. In the nursing profession, cooperation between pharmacists and nurses leads to better teamwork and care and is vital for total quality management of the healthcare institution. It is also known that poor teamwork in nursing can increase dissatisfaction in nurse care, errors, stress, or missed care. It is reported in England and Wales, that poor communication and teamwork are contributing to the lack of improvement in a lot of patients who were, within three days of a medical intervention, seen to die (Mayor, 2002). A lack of integrated team working and poor communication amongst departments are also described as big problems in the sector (Mayor, 2002). Poor inter-team collaboration, support, and communication have great effects on patient care, especially those that require attention for acute admissions. HSE Incidents and near-misses often are reported to occur as a result, therefore there is active action required to prevent it. Poor supervision and poor teamwork are manageable problems that can be rectified through compliance with proper nursing codes and standards and legislation.


AU Online, 2017. Responsibilities and Duties of a Registered Nurse. [Online]
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[Accessed 11 March 2018].
BJ Dewar, J. C., 1992. The role of the paid non-professional nursing helper: a review of the literature.. Journal of Advance Nursing , 17(1), pp. 113-120.
Mayor, S., 2002. Poor team work is killing patients. BMJ, 325(7374), p. 1190.
McGrath, M., 2012. Poor hospital care ‘puts many lives at risk’ in developing world. [Online]
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[Accessed 11 March 2018].
NDG, 2017. The Differences Between a Nurse and a Doctor. [Online]
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[Accessed 11 March 2018].
NMC, 2015. The Code: Professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses and midwives. London: Nursing and Midwivery Council.
NMC, 2016. Our role: What we do. [Online]
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[Accessed 11 March 2018].
Tiffin, C., 2012. Beyond the Bedside: The Changing Role of Today’s Nurses. [Online]
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