According to a recent survey, researchers suggests that nurses and junior doctors can both carry out pre-surgery assessments of patients to the same degree of competence.
There's a shortage of junior doctors in the UK and it's been suggested that appropriately trained nurses might be able to take over some of their roles. Researchers in Ireland, UK, have compared the way in which junior doctors and nurses assess people before surgery.
They found that a junior doctor had a one in seven chance of missing something important in such an assessment, while for nurses, the rate was one in eight. The doctors ordered nearly twice as many unnecessary tests as the nurses. However, it's unlikely that nurses can completely replace junior doctors in doing this kind of work, because it's a vital part of a doctor's career development. But it's useful to know that a nurse can perform as well as a doctor in this role.