History of anaesthesia: Nurse anaesthesia practice in the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America)

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Abstract

Many factors determine whether nurses, physicians or both administer anaesthesia in any country. We examined the status of nurse-administered anaesthesia in the Group of Seven (G7) countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America) and explored how historical factors, mixing global and local contexts (such as professional relations, medical and nursing education, social status of nurses, demographics and World Wars in the 20th century), help explain observed differences. Nearly equal numbers of physicians and nurses are currently engaged in the delivery of anaesthesia care in the United States but, remarkably, although the introduction or re-introduction of nurse anaesthesia in the 20th century was attempted in all the other G7 countries (except Japan), it has been successful only in France because of the cooperation with the United States during World War II.

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