Friday, August 18, 2006

An Important Note Regarding Communication Between Healthcare Providers

After reading Kim's post at Emergiblog regarding this subject, I decided to rehash an old entry of mine about the same issue. This is a very important issue in healthcare because it involves the care of patients. A nurse who can communicate to NPs and doctors well can save a life. Many times it's like crying wolf. If a doctor has been called with "stupid stuff" too many times, they won't listen to the important things.

April 2005
Recently, I attended a meeting at our hospital and one of the discussions was "preparing yourself to call a doctor on the telephone.." (A dreaded thing to most nurses.) I have had varying successes in this endeavor. The obvious problem is calling unprepared with all of the important information in front of you. Nothing is worse than being called from a patient's room in the office to try and give orders to an unprepared nurse. So, I decided to try and come up with a plan for new nurses and some veterans in order to ease this tension...

Ask a veteran nurse (after explaining the details of the problem) whether or not it's worth a call to the doctor. Use other's expertise!!! Often, we have already seen this problem many times before and can tell you what to do first.

Try my new acrynoym.. GYST (pronounced jist... which stands for "Get Your Shit Together... this of course means... a current set of vitals, the chart, a list of current medications, exact symptoms, etc...
Nothing is more irritating to a health professional than getting called out of a room to try and answer a question about a patient with little or no pertinent information. Being called out multiple times is some of what increases your wait time in the waiting room.

According to the studies, they say you have about 7 seconds to hold a person's attention, which means about 5 for medical professionals. We have very short attention spans and rarely tolerate wasted time. This is due to having to juggle several physical and mental tasks at one time.

I have been hung up on numerous times as a nurse. This is extremely rude by the doctor. My solution is to call them right back and say "I know we must have been disconnected because I know that you didn't deliberately hang up on me.." This often jolts some professionalism back into play.. If not, I let it roll off my back. I don’t take things personally unless a doctor deliberately makes a personal attack.

To sum things up; please make sure that you are prepared when calling health professionals. It makes things easier all around. It also helps keep our standards of professionalism higher in the doctor’s eyes. It’s hard enough out here to care for patients with the workload without the battles between the caregivers..

Carry on troops!!!

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