The professional profile for nurses is not clear about the division of tasks with doctors

Professional profiles for nurses contain remarkably little information about the division and delegation of tasks between physicians and nurses. This applies not only to the Dutch profile, but also to Belgium, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Nivel’s study shows this. As nurses take on more tasks from doctors, you can expect professional profiles to offer this.

All five professional profiles describe an aspect of work division, such as delegating tasks to other health professionals, but the physician is not always mentioned.

Netherlands and Belgium Pay even more attention to the division of tasks than other countries: for example, these professional profiles specify who is responsible for medical procedures, a nurse or a doctor. Both country profiles refer to the law, in the Netherlands it is the Big Law, in our case the Quality Law. Professional profiles in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States summarize the division of tasks and do not explicitly discuss the division of tasks with the doctor.

In three of the five countries, competences are explicitly described from the theoretical or legal basis of these competences: in the Netherlands it is based on the CanMEDS roles, in Belgium the professional profile follows the European guidelines for the recognition of professional qualifications. Professional Profile In the United States, skills are structured according to an occupational framework. In Canada and the United Kingdom, skills are not defined on any basis, the study analysed.

Broadly comparable only internationally
All competencies of nurses in different profiles can be broadly categorized into the same 10 domains. Within this, there are clear differences between countries at the level of specific skills. For example, the occupational profile of the United States places great emphasis on the use of technology, while this is not discussed in the United Kingdom.

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Classification of nurses’ competencies into 10 domains

  • Professional approach
  • Clinical care in practice
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Health promotion and prevention
  • Organization and planning of care
  • Leadership
  • Quality of care and safety
  • Training and (continuing) education
  • Technology and e-Healthcare
  • Support for self-management and patient control

About research
Nievell studied professional profiles (‘competency structures’) for nurses with a bachelor’s degree (higher professional education) from the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. This qualitative document analysis is part of a doctoral thesis ‘Future Nurses’ by Nivel researcher Renate Witt.

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Ferdinand Woolridge

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