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Arch Hellen Med, 34(3), May-June 2017, 303-320


The global expansion of the professional role of nurses

I. Lourantaki,1 K. Katsaliaki2
1General Hospital of Chalkidiki, Poligiros, Greek Open University, Thessaloniki,
2School of Economics, Business Administration and Legal Studies, International Hellenic University, Greek Open University, Thessaloniki, Greece

During recent decades health care systems all over the world have recognized that the utilization of nurses in an expanded professional role can contribute to improving health services and reducing costs without compromising the quality of care of the patients and the health outcome. Expanded, polymorphic nursing roles are gaining ground in more and more countries. Countries differ in the functions that nurses are allowed to perform. The most common categories of expanded nursing duties are in health education-health promotion, disease prevention and drug prescribing. The expansion of the role of nurses brings multiple benefits, including improved cost-effectiveness of health services, enhanced health and quality of life of the patients/consumers of health services, better inter-professional cooperation and more effective doctor-nurse working relationships. It is mainly the health professionals, and not the patients, who express negative opinions about expansion of the nursing role, including concerns about the legal responsibility, the skills, the experience and the education of nurses. Provision of higher and better organized nursing training, application of technology, clarity and international standardization of the roles, enabling continuing nursing education and continuous professional updating, and greater coverage from the mass media, are all activities that can enhance the expanded role of nurses on the worldwide scale.

Key words: Expansion, Global strategy, Implementation, Nurses, Professional role, Tasks.

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