In the early history of nursing, nurses were seen as subordinate to doctors, and obedience was seen as one of the cardinal virtues of nursing. Nursing had became a professional pursuit, and the primary duty of a nurse was to the patient, not the doctor.
Role changes suggest that nurses now have a professional obligation to sometimes question or refuse medical orders that are contrary to the rights/interests of patients and to act as patient advocates.
Is this change in the role of nurses good for patient care, or does it threaten the delivery of the best possible health-care?
Raffman, BSPT, BSN