N. C. Okolo, R. U. Okolo


Several factors contribute to the antagonism between doctors and nurses in the third world countries. These factors include the system of nursing education, which makes nurses subservient to doctors, the position of women in the society, difference in remuneration, emergence of male nurses and the legally supported monopoly over practice granted to the doctors. At the same time, the roles of the two professionals are not or were not clearly defined. The study aims at examining the relationship between doctors and nurses in two large hospitals in Sokoto metropolis. A sample size of 150 individuals was randomly selected from a study population of 610. The sample size consisted of 90 nurses, 50 doctors, and 10 pharmacists for the purpose of comparison. A tested questionnaire was used to collect data from the sample population and data were analysed using percentages and reasons for the responses. Data analysis revealed that 55.3% of the respondents agreed that doctors should lead the health facilities. Some 77.3% of the respondents were of the view that doctors display a dominant attitude over other professionals of the health care system. This was attributed to the duration and nature of their training and legal backing granted to the doctors by the state. Although 51% of the respondents were of the view that the doctors should earn higher than all the professionals, 52% of the nurseswere of the view that their role in patient care should earn them wages higher than the doctors. Despite the apathy, 50% of doctors were married to nurses and have stable marriages showing that the conflict was more of professionalism. Identified factors contributing to the conflict include the superiority complex of doctors, the nurses’ quest for professional status and lack of properly defined roles.Suggestions for improving the conflict include careful definition of roles during training, improving the entry qualification for nurses, replacing the schools of nursing with colleges and faculties of nursing within a university system and offering them university degrees, regular workshops and seminars for doctors and nurses where team work is emphasized.

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