The role of the nurse continues to be a favored subject for social science research and a topic for debate and conjecture among the health professions. Although differences in role perception exist, a fairly constant public as well as professional image persist with respect to the nurse who works within the hospital, an image which permits her to function, at least in part, in a patient-care-centered capacity.
The function of her counterpart in the community, the public health nurse, frequently is not so well known or understood. With the growing complexities of extended health services beyond hospitalization, a clarification of the role of the public health nurse is warranted. The nurse in the community is eager to work with the physician, the hospital nurse, and other related health personnel in coordinated planning for the provision and continuity of patient care. The two requests she makes of the physicians are to