Are nurses “technicians” or “professionals”?
A questionnaire sent home with many Spanish school kids this month undervalues nursing. The man in charge has refused to retract it and issue a new one.
May 2019 – Late this month the government of the Spanish region of Andalusia sent a questionnaire home with 90,000 school kids categorizing various professions. Physicians were put in the “professional” category, but nurses were placed in the “technical” one. That is wrong and damaging to public health. Here is how the questionnaire defined the two categories:
Técnicos/as o ayudantes. Incluye técnicos/as o ayudantes (de clentificos/as, ingenieros/as, informáticos/as, biólogos/as), enfermeros/as, técnicos financieros/as, agentes de negocios
Technicians or assistants. Includes technicians or assistants (of clerks, engineers, computer scientists, biologists), nurses, financial technicians, business agents
Profesionales. Incluye científicos/as, matemáticos/as, ingenieros/as, arquitectos/as o informáticos/as, profesionales de la biología y la sanidad, profesores/as, profesionales de las leyes, cientificos/as especalizados/as en temas sociales, periodistas, escritores/as y artistas, profesionales religiosos/as…
Professionals. It includes scientists, mathematicians, engineers, architects, computer scientists, professionals in biology and health, professors, legal professionals, specialized scientists in social issues, journalists, writers and artists, religious professionals …
Here is our petition:
I am writing to protest the Andalusia Ministry of Education’s questionnaire which said that nurses are “technicians.” This message is wrong and damaging to public health.
Please consider: Who does 24/7 patient surveillance, constantly looking for signs of deterioration and problems that could mean death? Who triages–deciding who is so sick they need to be seen now and who can wait? Who keeps ICU patients alive, regulating every breath, every drop of liquid, and delivering high-tech medications that are carefully titrated? Who coordinates with all other care providers to make sure the patient has all needs addressed?
Nurses. They are college-educated science professionals who save lives. And they do these things as part of their autonomous practice, not to serve some other profession. For instance, they do not serve physicians. Nurses serve only patients.
Your questionnaire undermines nursing at a time of global shortage. We need 3 times as many nurses as we now have. When the Ministry of Education tells children that nurses are helpers and low-level technicians, it drives the best and the brightest away. It makes it harder for nurses to get funding for nursing education, practice, research and residencies. That leads to a weakened nursing profession. And when patients don’t get the quality or quantity of nursing care they need, they die.
Please retract the questionnaire at once and consult with a team of nursing professors about how to explain nursing to students. The Truth About Nursing would also be happy to help you <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
If we educate the next generation about the value of nurses, we can resolve the global nursing shortage and ensure that we have nurses in the future.