When patients and guests visit hospitals, they often imagine a building filled with doctors and surgeons who manage the entire facility. Sure, maybe there is a technician or janitor or legal supervisor here and there, but the physicians can hold down the fort, right? After all, the endless hours that doctors and surgeons had to study and train for must make them adept at doing their work independently. Although doctors are very educated and professional individuals, people often overlook the value of another backbone of hospitals: nurses.

Both doctors and nurses are equally vital in operating hospitals, and although they may perform or be responsible for some different tasks, most of both their responsibilities tend to overlap. While doctors are in charge of diagnosing and treating illnesses, nurses are responsible for monitoring patient needs on a more regular basis than doctors. Their duties include administering medications, tending to wounds and needs of the patients, maintaining patient records, and generally assuring quality care for patients, among a plethora of other assignments. However, because of the extensive education and training doctors receive before they can practice, the significance and prestige of nurses is often overshadowed.

A successful hospital always includes a healthy dynamic between the nurses and the doctors. However, the working conditions of nurses may not always be necessarily ideal, according to Jennifer Ward’s article Common Problems in the Nursing Profession. Oftentimes, nurses may complain that their working conditions are stressful, reporting long and demanding work hours with unequal pay in comparison to doctors. Nurses also reported occasional professional conflicts, either with doctors, administrators, or even patients. This could adversely affect the performance of physicians and nurses. Finally, nurses often spend more time with patients than physicians do. This could lead to job hazards and other safety issues, such as contracting diseases and sometimes dealing with a patient’s psychological issues. These are common issues that strain the doctor-nurse relationship, and can adversely affect patient care and hospital conditions.

Avoiding these issues requires only a few preventive measures, such as conducting surveys and performance reports to better evaluate employees. There could also be designated third-party mediators whose responsibility is to quickly and efficiently solve doctor-nurse issues. Both doctors and nurses work in an environment surrounded by stress, so taking the time for each of them to get to know one another could also build relationships and ease tensions.

In their interactions with patients, nurses embody the image of the hospital; the proper care, attentiveness, and service that nurses provide are what most strongly resonate to the patients. Without nurses, doctors and other hospital employees would be overburdened with their workload, and both patients and guests would not receive the attention and care they would deserve. Their dedication to the patients and invaluable experience and knowledge is what makes nurses important catalysts in the intricate systems of healthcare.