Friday, January 11, 2008

Role Reversal

Today I was the patient.

As I lay on the cold crisp white paper with the fluorescent white lights shining down on me, me heart beating steadily in my chest, I began to this is what it's like.
No, I wasn't facing large surgery or death like many of my patients (thank God) but I was facing a few unpleasant minutes of being numbed up to have 2 suspicious moles removed.

Now maybe I have a jaded view of health care, but here is what I observed about my appointment today...

1. I was taken ON TIME
2. I was addressed as Miss S
3. I was properly instructed on how to wear the gown. *You'd be amazed at how many people leave the opening in the front*
4. I doctor washed her hands IN THE ROOM before and after patient contact

5. Despite being taken ON TIME, I was seen 45 minutes LATER
6. The consent for biopsy wasn't explained to me, but rather shoved in my face by the medical assistant while said she said, "Sign and date on the line. It's so we can 'do' your stuff"
7. The medical assistant had to come in and out of the room 4 times to set up for the procedure...
8. I was freezing lying on the table
9. What the heck is the point in knocking as you open the much for warning

All in all, my experience wasn't that bad. Actually, I think it was a good thing for me to experience. It helps keep me grounded and mindful of what it's like to be a patient.
Things I will remember...
-despite the long term stays of my patients, always check to see what the patient wants to be called
-if the curtain/door is closed, knock-PAUSE- enter
-don't just witness consents, ensure patient understanding, clarify, and obtain the doctor if necessary
-be prepared when you enter the room, it's annoying to go in-out-in-out
- for the love of noscomial infections, wash hands BEFORE and AFTER patient contact

I'd love to hear your role reversal stories and just what they helped you remember

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