Registered Nurse Plumber?


I have noted with interest over the years that nurses (and I am one)  have had an attitude of “I can do that. Give me that job” and indeed nurses have expanded their role quite considerably. When accused of trying to be ‘mini doctors’ nurses have responded ‘no we are maxi nurses’.  We have clearly demonstrated that we are capable of so much.

So…with the latest MHA nurses can (after appropriate hoop jumping) can be the responsible clinician or the approved mental health professional, posts previously filled solely by doctors and social workers.

Surely nurses (and the Act) are missing the point?

The greatest strength of any team revolves around the idiosyncrasies that each individual brings to the table but now, oh no, we are removing this uniqueness to leave one ‘new’ professional that simply changes hats to fit the job in hand. 


I am strongly in favour of social workers retaining their role – it is after all a vital position to ensure that the medical model does not dominate. I remember as a newly qualified nurse being impressed by a social worker refusing to ‘sign off’ a detention after two doctors had recommended it – this social worker exerted his own standards and whilst I disagreed with him, I thought that he was doing a splendid job that he was trained to do. He was able to step away from the medical needs and look at the social needs in a wider context.

Nurses, whilst we strive to be separated from it, are biased in the ways of the medical model -Face it.

What is wrong with being a nurse anyhow? I plumbed in a washing machine the other week but I am not asking to be registered as a nurse plumber. Leave the plumbing to the person who trained to be a plumber and who does it day in and day out and the plumber can leave me to nurse.

And another thing….following on from nurses saying “I can do that. Give me that job” there is the follow up call of “Hang on. Have you seen my workload? I’m not paid enough you know!”

washing machine

Images from Flickr creative commons:

1. Plumber James #2 by MoToMo

2. Plumbing by basykes

3. Day 719 / 365 – Wrong Setting by JasonRogersFotographie

2 thoughts on “Registered Nurse Plumber?

  1. The initial reason for rolling out the AMHP role was a lack of social workers in the first place. We have, in our AMHP (and previously ASW!) fora, discussed the ‘broadening’ out issue of the role frequently and there is not only an element of professional pride (which believe me, doesn’t exist in droves in social work..) but a thought about where social work and social workers fit within CMHTs (as that’s what I’m familiar with). While I think a lot of the perspectives are shared among the professionals and the scope and range of our roles can seem to be somewhat blurred, it is important to retain some professional identities as well. The AMHP role is an obvious role that was always assigned to social workers but in a more ‘micro’ form, the need to challenge medical models and engage with social and societal pressures that exacerbate mental distress remains crucial even without the formalised place within the Mental Health Act.
    In the meantime, our Trust have not yet trained any non-social worker AMHPS due to some snags related to payscales for those who they directly employed but the time is coming.
    As for the role of the RC, I can’t think of anything I would want to do less than that.

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