Although commending my nurse colleagues for further self and professional development in pursuing their medical training, ('Trading places', feature, pages 26-29, 3 August), I was somewhat saddened by their general pessimism with regard to the nursing profession.

The role of nursing has changed dramatically over the last 20 years, with many pathways for a nurse to develop through education and training. The advent of primary care groups and now primary care trusts has been a very positive step for nursing, with nurse board members having key positions to make a difference to the health and well-being of their local communities, through partnership working.

Indeed there are problems to be addressed within nursing, such as recruitment and retention. Instead of the negative portrayal of nursing as is often seen in the media, the many positive aspects need to be emphasised. These include altruism and development opportunities, including higher education and career progression coupled with greater financial reward.

I am very proud to be a member of the nursing profession. I am the third generation of nurse in my family and, like my late mother, trained in the UK, when unable to obtain a training post in the Republic of Ireland.

I certainly do not feel 'intellectually inferior' to my medical colleagues, but rather see our roles as complementary to each other with the overarching aim of providing a high-quality health service to our patients in line with the locally driven health improvement programme priorities.

I would recommend that the way forward for both professions is to work together as this type of 'bickering' demeans both professions.

Marie C. Hill London E16