Nursing professionals duties in adult hospitalization floors: trying to give direct care

Gloria Alcaraz López, Marleny Zapata Herrera, Margarita Gómez Gómez, Edison Tavera Agudelo


Objective: to describe the duties and work of nursing professionals who work in the adult hospitalization floors. Methodology: ethnographic study where 17 nurses who worked in the adult hospitalization floors in health care institutions located in the metropolitan area of the Aburra valley in Medellin (Colombia) were interviewed during the year of 2007. Ten observations about the studied phenomenon were made in the floors where the participants worked. The results were socialized with the study participants to verify if they recognized the performed analysis. Results: four analysis categories were identified: Floor management, trying to give direct care, criteria for the classification of care and delegated care. The study participants are mainly engaged in management duties. Their work is centered specially in medical delegated activities and floor management. They establish the necessity to give care according to technical and biological criteria, and the care is delegated to the nurses' aide personnel. The direct contact with the patients is reduced most of the times to a courtesy and protocol greeting. Between the nurses exists a guilt feeling for not giving direct care. Conclusion: the direct care is in second place after the doctor delegated duties and management service.

Key words: nursing staff; hospitalization; professional practice; nursing care; nursing services.

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