Registered nurses have been attempting to achieve professional status for nearly a century. Historical investigation of their efforts in the United States and a case study of the 1976 Seattle Nurses' strike indicate major obstacles to the professionalizing project. The most important of these are the inability of the nurses to control the labor supply, and their failure to define or monopolize a distinct set of tasks. One result is functional redundancy: there is no job nurses perform that is not also performed by some other occupation.

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