To see whether nurses rate diseases according to prestige and, if so, how their ratings compare to the disease prestige hierarchy previously uncovered among physicians.
In 2014, 122 nurses in a continuing education programme for healthcare personnel in Norway rated a sample of 38 diseases according to how prestigious they see these as being among healthcare workers in general.
The nurses were found to rank myocardial infarction, leukaemia, and brain stroke at the top of the prestige hierarchy and depressive neurosis, anxiety neurosis, and fibromyalgia at the bottom. Their rankings overlap significantly with those previously documented for physicians and suggest that nurses assess the diseases through a ‘cure’ rather than a ‘care’ perspective on health care.
The nurses ordered diseases in a prestige hierarchy and their rankings are strikingly like those of physicians. The findings are of significant relevance to nursing practice and set a new course for future research into prestige and nursing culture.
The findings should encourage nurses – individually and collectively – to reflect on whether and how notions of disease prestige influence their decision‐making. By showing that nurses as well as physicians are able to rate diseases according to prestige, the study suggests new avenues for future disease prestige research.
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