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Who do we nurses work for?


Siri Stafford | Photodisc | Thinkstock

Usually the ‘boss’ is the person (or persons) who evaluate you on your job performance. They use a set of standards to measure how well or how poor you are performing the ‘job’ you were hired for. This evaluation usually determines our direction, gives us measurable outcomes we strive to achieve for our next evaluation.


So who is our boss?

Is it the hospital ‘suits’?

Is it our ‘department’ (unit) manager?

Is it CMS?

Is it JCAHO?

Do we all work for ‘the man’?

Is our boss the same person that we are working for??

Maybe it’s just me, but in the world of nursing my boss and the person I work for are two different individuals.

My boss is, of course, the person who employees me and pays me my salary (of which I’m very grateful). I could not discount the fact that I do value my employer and the job it affords me.

But my employment status doesn’t depict who I work for. Who I work for is the person who matters the most to me.

This particular person’s opinion of my job duties, responsibilities and my overall job performance rest solely in their ‘lap’ so to say. I have a good day when they appreciate my work. I have a bad day when they don’t value the services I provide.

It’s amazing how much power this one individual has now that I think about it. But all nurses are working for the same person: The patient.

The ‘patient’ can be an umbrella term for any and all individuals personally tied to the actual ‘patient’ who is ill or who is receiving treatment. This includes the patient and the patient’s family and friends.

At the end of the day (or shift) I value their opinion or their interpretation of the care they received. While the other bosses of course have their rightful and earned place, the patient is the one who truly matters.

This post was inspired by an article a patient wrote about their view and their appreciation for nurses that I read here: In Praise of Nurses

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