Introduce Yourself – It Makes A Difference To A Patient

The importance of introductions – Staff > Patients

Hello, my name is Chris and I have been blogging about the journey my dad has been on since he suffered a heart attack back in April 2015 and, had a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in October 2015.

Today, dad stepped onto another path after being referred to the eye clinic at his local hospital, this was the result of a visit to his opticians for a routine eye test.  The optician suspected he could have the beginning of a cataract and a possible risk of early onset of glaucoma.  Another worry, but something that was suspected and had to be investigated.

My dad is one of the most friendly, respectful and accommodating people you could meet, never complains, and always sees the best in people.  The reason I am highlighting this fact, is due to the way my dad was treated today, which left me quite surprised and a little upset.

We arrived at the clinic reception, dads appointment letter was taken from him and he was told to take a seat, no details were checked, no explanation was given as to what would happen next.  We took a seat and waited to be called into clinic.

When dad was called into the clinic about half an hour later, he was given a routine eye test and asked to take a seat back in the waiting room again, no introductions or an explanation as to what would happen next was given.

We followed the health care assistant into the next waiting room and took a seat, not knowing what we were waiting for, but guessing it was to see the specialist.

After about an hour of waiting, one of the nursing assistants turned on a TV screen showing the waiting times/delays for each specialist, having identified my dads specialists name, I asked if the hour wait was from the time we arrived, or, the time the screen was activated for all patients in the waiting room to see (which was then 11am) I was told it was from the time of dads appointment, which was 10am. . .

The reason I was asking, I was aware that dad had been sitting for an hour therefore, he would be a little off-balanced when he stood up, and I was worried if I left him to get a coffee, as was suggested, he may get called into clinic without me being there to assist him.  After speaking to a member of staff, I was informed that if he got called into clinic the nursing assistant would make sure he was ok if I hadn’t returned by this time.

After this discussion and a chat with my dad I decided to go and get him a coffee from the coffee shop on the next floor (reluctant to leave him, but aware he needed some refreshments) Thankfully I returned just in time, as I passed the coffe to my dad, his name was called and we had to go into see the specialist.

Dad had no time to have his drink, but at least he was not waiting any longer to see the specialist.  I was trying to explain to the nursing assistant that dad needed this drink, but we were ushered into the consulting room without any further discussion and dad was directed to the examination chair.

The reason I was a little upset and I must say surprised, was at no point did anyone introduce themselves, not one member of staff said “Hello George, my name is . . .” something as simple as a name, how difficult is that?  I thought it was really disrespectful to the patient, but also showed lack continuity on behalf of the NHS.

If you have been reading my blog, you will know that I have 28yrs NHS experience, having worked in a number of non-clinical roles in two NHS Trusts, in front-line services and most recently corporate services.  I am aware of the importance of introducing yourself and being respectful of the patient, especially when they are feeling vulnerable.

I have been following a very important campaign for the last year, that has been widespread across the NHS, promoted across the social network platform which is called:

image

This was started by Dr Kate Granger (Twitter – @GrangerKate) and has NHS Trusts across the country joining in and taking up this challenge.

More details can be found on the following link:

http://nhsemployers.org/campaigns/hello-my-name-is

Introducing yourself to a patient is a personal and respectful act of acknowledgement, putting the patient at ease, it is so easy to say, hello my name is. . and should be the first thing any member of staff interacting with a patient should say!

The test itself involved putting drops into dads eyes, and as anyone knows, the first thing you do when anything goes into your eyes, you blink continuously! While this was happening my dad was being told to keep his eyes open so the specialist could look into his eyes, but this was impossible for dad to do as the drops were irritating his eyes therefore, making him blink.

With the disappearance of the nursing assistant, I was ‘told’ to help, which I found very disturbing as I could see my dad struggling.  I asked if he could have a minute to relax, but was told he had to continue while the drops were in and the test was done.  It was at this point the nursing assistant came back into the room and I was directed out of the way as she took over, I watched as she tried to hold dads head against the eye machine to get the test done.

I found the whole experience a little traumatic to watch as I could see dad was struggling, and I didn’t feel that either of them were being considerate to his condition, or putting him at ease.  I was so relieved once it was over for my dad.

Once the test was over, the specialist discussed the results, but directed them to me and not my dad.  I then tried to bring my dad into the discussion asking him if he understood what was being said, and if there was anything he wanted explaining again.

The good news was that there was no glaucoma at present, but the test would have to be repeated in another 2/3 months.  Nothing was mentioned about possible cataracts, as stated on the referral by the opticians therefore, I’m hoping this is not an issue to be identified at a later date.

I just hope that dad will be treated a little more compassionately at his next appointment, and he won’t be left bruised as he has been by this procedure.

I have always found it hard to listen to criticism about the NHS having worked in the organisation for so long, and also experiencing the other side, as a patient and a relative of a number of patients that have been treated by the NHS.  However, there are times, like today, when I can understand the criticism. . .

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