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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The functions of the nurse in an integrated national health service.

The British National Health Service was reorganized in 1974 when the hospital services and the community health services, previously administered separately, were brought together into one organization: the Area Health Authority. The reorganization was a culmination of developments triggered off as long ago as 1589 when the first Poor Law Act was passed, but more particularly, the reorganization was the natural outcome of a number of important government and professional nursing reports published during the past 30 years. From 1974 the community and hospital nursing services have, therefore, been amalgamated under the direction of one head of the nursing services: a district (or area) nursing officer, who, together with medical, administrative and financial colleagues, manages the health services on a day-to-day basis in a team managing by consensus. The nurse's role in the management teams is both executive and professional: the nurse's unique contribution is that he/she brings a nursing perspective to management. The new nursing service organization has provided new opportunities for reorientating middle nurse managers to a clinical role. It has also provided opportunities for innovating integrated teams of community and hospital nurses and for developing specialist nursing roles. Nurses are also now able to make other additional contributions to health care by their involvement in health care planning team activities and by their membership of the statutory area and regional nursing and midwifery advisory committees. But, on the whole, changes and influence on health care have been brought about chiefly by changes in the managerial structure of British nursing, which is a perspective of the British nursing profession that seems to have been all pervasive since Florence Nightingale's reforms and which is perpetuated by the powerfully socializing agent of British nurse training. As health care and nursing service organizations should be means towards the end of good patient care, it may be timely to focus on the suggestion of autonomous nurse practitioners supported by a separately organized administrative structure.[1]


  1. The functions of the nurse in an integrated national health service. Smith, J.P. Journal of advanced nursing. (1979) [Pubmed]
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