Auxiliaries in nursing: implications for the division of nurses' labour
The study presents the thesis that nursing with its wide range of work in spheres of the management, teaching and prac¬ tice of nursing care relies for its maintenance and extension upon the stable contributions of auxiliary workers. Auxiliaries in the U.K. context are nursing workers without recognised qualification to nurse and who may have little or no formal training for their work. A secondary theme is argued that auxiliaries are inherently disadvantaged in the professional nursing structures. The disadvantage is due to a reified image of nursing which is unrelated to patients' needs and unrelated to the daily practice of nursing care. The reification of nursing and the resulting disadvantage to unqualified nursing workers render them less effective than their quantity and human potential should allow. Through the means of two national reviews of policies related to auxiliaries in general and psychiatric divisions of the N.H.3., a wide variety of patterns of employment, instruction, and use were found; nursing managers also revealed a range of problems met in the employment of less-than-fully qualified workers in nursing systems. With this problem-oriented perspec¬ tive, the characteristics and work of auxiliaries in one English health district characterised by relatively low reliance upon these workers, are described. The health district, one of three districts serving as case studies for^he government health department—funded research, was examined by means of postal questionnaires, personal interviews, work diaries and observation of nursing activities. The study, endeavouring to contribute to the discussion of work levels in health care, and within this in nursing care of patients, provides base-line information upon which experimental research may be undertaken.