Role Boundaries in Care Work Role Boundaries Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

Role Boundaries in Care Work

Role boundaries are a critical component in a health care setting. Much of this is a response to how the system is organized. The health care industry is composed of many different roles that specialize in different areas and expertise. Therefore, the individuals in the system must honor their role boundaries to ensure that the collective efforts of the individuals in the system can work together to provide high levels of patient care. The care experienced by Anwar Malik in hospital was defined by the collective effort that each individual gave to Anwar. Each team member has a range of tasks that can be organized with various role boundaries. If any of the members violate their roles, then this can lead to the team's effort not being effective and could also compromise the level of care provided to the patient.

Diabetic Anwar Malik was admitted to hospital with a swollen foot and the foot appeared, upon initial inspection, to be gangrenous. Anwar was then transferred to a ward that was under the responsibility of registered ward nurse Grace Taylor. Grace proceeded to examine Anwar's foot and recorded the results of her inspection. The next team member that visited Anwar was the staff nurse, Jasvinder Kaur, who tested Anwar's blood sugar levels. Based on the results it was determined that Anwar should be administered his insulin and Anwar received an injection to maintain his diabetic healthcare routine.

There were also many other team members who participated in Anwar's care during his visit. The patient was also visited by a representative from the diabetes and endocrinology division as well as a surgeon and an anesthetist. Two other assistants administered the remainder of Anwar's care on his admittance to hospital. Millie Harrison provided Anwar a set of clean pajamas and checked to see if the patient had any other requests. Ella Platt performed bedside duties such as taking the patients temperature, offered drinks, fixed the bed, and made sure he was comfortable with his surroundings. Ella Platt's role in the care system was to make Anwar feel as comfortable as possible about his stay in hospital as well as preparing him for his operation.

From the brief example provided, it is easy to see that patient care is really a team effort. There are a number of different staff members who are all responsible for significantly different tasks. Furthermore, the system is based on the biomedical model. This perspective to providing health care has developed under the influence of biological and medical science and uses systematic observations and experiments. Therefore, not only are the team members responsible for maintaining their professional boundaries while conducting their duties, they must also conduct their roles with technical precision so that the results of their tasks can easily be shared with the team. If a team member does not perform their duties within professional boundaries, then this can be a source of conflict within the group. For example, if a nurse or an assistant spoke poorly of another staff member, then the patient could easily lose confidence in the entire team as well as the hospital in general. The same can be said with other potential sources of conflict.

The Biomedical Model

The biomedical model is defined as "a conceptual model of illness that excludes psychological and social factors and includes only biologic factors in an attempt to understand a person's medical illness or disorder" (Medi Lexicon, N.d.). Despite the definition limiting the psychological and social factors that may be responsible for treating the disease, this does not specifically imply that the psychological and social factors are irrelevant in the treatment process. In fact, this is part of the reason why maintaining appropriate boundaries are so important because the staff will unlikely know many…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Caplan, A., McCartney, D., & Sisti, D. (2004). Health, Disease, and Illness. Georgetown: Georgetown University Press.

Hewa, S., & Hetherington, R. (1995). Specalist without Spirit. Theoretical Medicine, 129-139.

Medi Lexicon. (N.d.). Definition: 'Biomedical Model'. Retrieved from Medi Lexicon:

The Open University. (n.d.). K101 Block 1. Faculty of Health & Social Care.

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