Action research can be defined as a reflective process of problem solving by individuals working with others in teams to improve their professional output to solve problems. It is also a comparative research on the conditions and effects of various forms of social action and research leading to social action that uses a spiral of steps, each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action, and fact-finding about the result of the action (Kurt Lewin,1946).
There is no doubt that nursing is a profession with the essential ingredients of autonomy and accountability. It is true that the profession demands responsibilities than the past when the principle of a nurse was just to provide care and comfort. Today, a nurse is a client advocate, educator and manager. But little attention has been drawn to assess the real public perception about nurses. Although the patients seem to know better (than the past) about health care and demand more knowledge on their treatment options (Kubler ? Ross, 1969), it is obvious that no common man thinks or does any analysis of a nurse until he needs one or is in a situation where he/she interacts with a nurse as in case of a hospital admission.
The nursing practice has undergone a positive shift from that of a vocation to a professional status today (Potter, 2005). The vocational role of the nurse care as prescribed by a physician is the basis of the Biomedical Model of nursing care. The roots of the Biomedical Model can be traced to Decartes, who advocated the mind-body dualism (www.unc.edu) .On this basis, disease is defined as a biophysical malfunction and the goal of treatment is to correct the malfunction to cure the disease.
The Operating Room nurses have worked alongside surgeons in the operating room (OR) throughout the history of Medical Science. The role of operating room nurses has evolved from performance of mere vocational functions like sterilization of instruments to that of professional functions (Judith Brumm, 2004). Today, the Operating Room nurse enjoys professional autonomy making reasonably independent and self-governing decisions in practice dealing specifically with the human response to life threatening conditions.
Acute shortage of nurses has resulted in a large population of nurses from other countries being employed in health care settings in the United States of America. Statistics show that the total number of nurses working in the healthcare field in the United States has decreased from 2,669,603 in the year 2000 to 2,262,020 in year 2001(World Health Organization., 2006) with a simultaneous increase in nurse responsibilities, decrease in the number of applicants to baccalaureate programs and an aging workforce. Thus, the demand for nurses is greater than the supply.
In This Issue
Liz Di Bernardo