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Table 1 Summary of the selected agents’ everyday acts on the ward

From: Everyday practices at the medical ward: a 16-month ethnographic field study

The Agent The Act
The patient The patients were mostly sitting or lying on their bed, waiting for a decision concerning their treatment. Generally, they preferred not to disturb the nurses by ringing the bell or posing questions if they were not in acute need.
The assistant nurse (AN) ANs supported the patients in their daily needs. They spent most of their time with the patients and reported to the responsible RN. The ANs seldom stayed a whole week in the same subunit.
The registered nurse (RN) RNs communicated with patients, their family and all care providers inside and outside the hospital who were involved with the patient. The RN had a central administrative responsibility and coordinated the administrative, logistical (lab, examinations, transport) and medical inquiries. The RNs seldom stayed a whole week in the same subunit.
The physician/resident The physician was stationed at the ward for a week, and two days per week they were in charge of the subunits’ patients, backed up by the senior cardiologist who was usually absent from the ward on those days. Otherwise, the physician assisted the cardiologist with mostly administrative tasks such as writing referrals and discharge notes, reading the journals in the morning and reporting to the senior cardiologist in case they had not had time to prepare themselves. The physician also had specialist out-patient clinic duties and circulated between different wards and hospitals as part of their training. The physician stayed in the same subunit for one week at a time.
The cardiologist The cardiologist had the overall responsibility for the patients in their subunit during the week. They held the medical rounds in the ward three days per week. Their tasks included journal documentation, preparation of discharge notes, answering referrals and on-call duty in the ward and the entire medical clinic during evening and nights. Besides these tasks, the senior cardiologist had many obligations outside the ward, such as consultations, research assignments, and supervision of residents and medical students. The cardiologist mainly stayed in the same subunit for one week at a time.