Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 16(2) March 2003 : 61-62.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2003.20304

Commentary: Responding to the Problem of Recognizing and Valuing Nurses' Work

Linda McGillis Hall

[This paper is a commentary on The Relative Value of Nursing Work: A Study in Progress by Gloria Joachim,Marcy Saxe-Braithwaite, Heather Mass, Robert Calnan, Janet Mann and Bernadet Ratsoy.]

Joachim et al. advocate for the concept of "relative value" as a mechanism for recognizing nurses' work. Arguing that nursing knowledge is not valued, the authors suggest that the notion of relative value provides a method for assigning a value to nursing knowledge and nurses' capacity to perform. The authors indicate that there is a need to identify and somehow specify the qualities of specialty nursing work that make it unique (e.g., type of work, its difficulty, job complexity, nurse's experience). They state that "nurses with specialized knowledge are able to perform work that nurses without such knowledge cannot safely and correctly do," describing this difference as the relative value of nursing work. The authors state that specialist nurses "are not interchangeable" with generalists or with nurses from another specialty. Does this statement imply that generalists can be replaced by specialist nurses?



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