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October 15, 1973

Should Physicians Have a Nursing Education?

JAMA. 1973;226(3):351. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230030063020

Rockoff1 would answer the question by saying, "At least partly." In his perceptive exposition of what it feels like to be a third-year clinical clerk in a university medical center, he laments the separatism that he observed between nursing personnel and physician personnel, especially between the nursing staff and the man lowest on the physician's scale of authority—the "student physician."

Acknowledging that learning science and technology are important to a clinical clerk, Rockoff nevertheless deplores the fact that many other things are not taught, perhaps in part because they are considered mundane or unessential by the house staff and attending physicians. He would have liked to learn what the nurses and their auxiliaries might have taught him. He would have liked an opportunity to observe what nursing students were taught and even to have had some small part in teaching them. But this was not to be, and he