This is a common saying between nurses and other members of the health care team. I have witnessed many experienced nurses suggest the right diagnostic tests and pinpoint critical health issues of people even before the resident doctor or practitioner evaluates the patient. However, many skillful and intuitive nurses hold back their opinions and suggestions, just because of the thought that, “we are nurses, we don’t diagnose”.

In 2015, the National Academy of Medicine identified diagnostic error as an urgent patient safety concern in their report, ‘Improving Diagnosis in Health Care’.

The report’s foremost recommendation is to promote team-based diagnosis, specifically calling for the patient and the nursing staff to be integral members of the team and contribute to the diagnostic process.

Nurses! We are part of a larger cause. We are at the bedside. We see cases ranging from mild pain to major attacks. We hold a distressed preterm neonate and a dying older adult with the same compassion and care. We have more to contribute to the cause. Never hold back your opinion and never step back by saying, “I am just a nurse”. We are much more than “just”.

– Anila