WMA Opposes Independent Nurse Legislation

Legislation by the Korean Government to allow nurses to practice medical activities independently from physicians has been opposed by the World Medical Association.

It says that the move represents a violation of the principle of best practice in the medical field and will undermine and fragment team-based care.

WMA President Dr. Heidi Stensmyren said: ‘The new medical law being proposed by the Korean Government would change the nurses’ role, allowing them to provide ‘necessary medical care’ without physicians’ supervision. In future nursing assistants will be supervised by nurses, and not by physicians as at present.

‘The WMA supports the view of the Korean Medical Association and other health professional associations that this is unjustifiable. The current law defines that medical practice is carried out as a teamwork of healthcare professionals, under the supervision of physicians. We share the deep concern of the Korean Medical Association and other health professionals that this proposed legislation would allow medical treatment by non-physicians, which could lead to possible harm towards patients’.