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Nursing Diagnosis and the Nurses' Strike

Nurses do not go on strike unless they have been pushed to the limit of their practice situations, and so it is currently for nurses in Ireland.

Further strike days are still possible concerning inadequate nurse staffing levels, nurses' pay-scale, and lack of pay parity with other graduate health professionals such as physiotherapists and speech and language therapists. The strike is generating widespread discussion in the media about the role and responsibilities of nurses in the health service, often focused on what nurses' practice includes and does not include.

During at least one media discussion the topic of nursing diagnosis came to the fore; a member of one of the other graduate health professions argued that nurses do not qualify for pay parity because they do not make diagnoses, whereas the other graduate health professional did make diagnoses. Is this other graduate health professional right?

Here we have a wake-up call for nurses – more action is urgently needed. Even though NANDA-I nursing diagnoses are clearly made and recorded daily by nurses in at least ten hospitals in Ireland, in other hospitals there is no evidence that nurses are making nursing diagnoses.

We must keep in mind that the word 'diagnosis' means accuracy; identifying a patient problem for which a professional has responsibility with accuracy. First and foremost, nurses' not making nursing diagnoses is a threat to patient safety and healing; but it is also a threat to recognition of nursing as a professional discipline. Unfortunately, to some extent the other graduate health professional is right. 

Why are we doing this to ourselves?

Therese Meehan

 

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