I wonder how many times patients go into the doctor’s office, urgent care center, or ER and leave feeling like they weren’t taken care of properly. Healthcare is a hugely profitable business and healthcare costs are steadily rising. I had a conversation with a family member today because of course, I’m the nurse and so everyone talks to me about what’s going on with their health. She went to urgent care for a migraine she had for more than a week. The urgent care doctor sent her to the ER because he said he used to be an ER doctor and they’ll want to do a workup, hydrate her, and give her medications so that she could feel better. She only took this route because she hasn’t been able to get a doctor’s appointment with her new primary care doctor. Well, she starts telling me how the ER was jammed packed and they were in such a rush. This is probably true for most ER’s because they are not just dealing with emergent situations, they have become the primary care setting for a lot of patients. She said she was seen by the doctor for probably less than 5 minutes, given a prescription for Reglan without any explanation as to what it was and sent on her merry little way with no relief of her symptoms and wondering what Reglan was for. Before leaving she asked the nurse what the medication was for and was told it was for nausea which is something she had been experiencing but what about the other symptoms like the week-long migraine? So, this consumer left without feeling she had been cared for which is something I think all nurses can attest to happening more than we care to admit. What are some suggestions or solutions to this widespread problem? Patients pay astronomical costs for a short visit that doesn’t resolve their primary reason for showing up in the first place so what scar does that leave with them? This is an example of how we must advocate even more so for our patients to get the best quality care they can receive. We understand the hustle and bustle and the tremendous and exhausting time, effort, and energy it takes but we must find a way to do it. In fact, I know because I was an ER nurse. And I know I will leave a practice if I go in and don’t feel like I’m important but rather just another number. For me, it is important that I provide the care I would want someone to offer me. I understand that with some people you have to step back and assess how they want to be treated and not how you want to treat them. However, overall I think most patients/consumers come in because they are sick and in need of safe and effective care which we should be providing. Not an easy conversation, but I’d love to hear other health professionals’ perspectives on how we can provide more effective care to our patients in an efficient manner and what this looks like in terms of how nurses can be more successful as advocates for their patients. Thanks for listening, now let’s talk.
Until next time,