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Nursing from a Patient’s Perspective

I normally write about nursing news or what’s going on in the health care industry. I even search the web for advice to help you write a resume or ace a job interview. However, this has been a very active week (actually, this is one crazy year!) as I’ve been a patient and patient advocate. I’ve come across my share of Medical Assisting, RNs, physician assistants and pharmacists to last me for a long while. Hopefully my perspective as a patient will help give you some fresh eyes on those who you will treat.

Okay, so we’ve all been a patient at one time or another. I know it’s not hard to get people’s opinions about how they’ve been treated in a hospital or what kind of care they thought they should have received. As I spent time in the hospital and ER, I couldn’t help but focus on what I could write for this blog. Heck, if I had to spend time in the hospital, I might as well make the most of it!

Friday I had an appointment to get an ultrasound. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I will tell you that I had a student performing the procedure on me. When she was finished (a grueling 25 minutes later), her supervisor came in to check her work and finish the job. As a patient I have no problems with having a student use her skills on me. One major thing that I noticed that separated her from her superior was not in how she used the equipment, but in how she interacted with me. Her skills were very competent, but I felt like I was putting her at ease rather than her setting me at ease. Medical skills are at the forefront of importance, but people skills should not be neglected.

My daughter was sick this past weekend and so I had to spend a couple of hours in the ER; those of you who are called to this area, I applaud you! The one thing that I really learned from this experience (from a professional point of view) is the importance of keeping the patient informed. When we arrived the MA at the registration desk said that about 8-10 people were ahead of us so it would take about an hour before we even would get to triage. That was longer than I hoped, but at least we had a good estimate of our waiting time rather than sitting on pins and needles and pleading for our name to be called. Secondly, when we were almost finished and they said we just needed discharge papers, we had to wait another half hour. I couldn’t figure out why we had to wait so long for paperwork, but it was really to see if my daughter’s fever went down; it would have been nice to know it was for our benefit and not just because they forgot about us.

If you are a medical assisting student or LVN in the San Francisco Bay Area, you have an exciting career ahead of you. Please learn from the lessons that I faced this weekend: polish your people skills and keep your patients informed. They will appreciate it!