In A Rush?
“Putting Patients First” is an obvious slogan of many healthcare institutions. But there seems to be a slight disconnect between some patients and healthcare providers on what that phrase means.
Simply put, doctors and nurses should “put patients first” by ensuring care is safe, equitable, evidence-based, timely, efficient, and patient centered. We understand being hospitalized or having a child in the ICU is emotionally taxing and the empathy should translate into great bedside manner and communication. In turn, we expect patients to be respectful and cooperative. While most are, the entitled few, take our patient-first mantra and run wild with it.
Sadly, we’re in a hard place because patient satisfaction scores have us by a chain and whip. These surveys are often tied to Medicare reimbursement fees and somehow doctors and nurses are always at fault when a patient or “the consumer” is unhappy.
Should hospitals really have to suffer because an entitled patient didn’t have concierge service or if they’re unhappy with the gluten-free options?
“But hospital bills are expensive so we deserve top-notch comfort!” Granted a night in a hospital costs way more than one in a Four Seasons but realize that healthcare providers are not to blame for your gripe with hospital resources.
If you work for a patient advocacy organization and you want to slap me, keep reading. I asked around for stories and here’s a colorful collection of quotes said by patients to either a nurse or a physician:
“Bring me a fork and not any of that plastic shit!” (Sorry, our fine china is all dirty.)
“I’m a VIP. You tell the lab to run my child’s labs first.” (Cool, let me tell the cancer ward to hang tight.)
“The gluten-free options are embarrassing.” (Actually it’s embarrassing you’re yelling at me about this at 1am.)
”Um no. Put the soup back in the microwave for one minute. Stir. Then in for one minute longer.” (You forgot to say please Wolfgang.)
“Why isn’t there a bar in this place?” (Because it’s a children’s hospital. Also the Betty Ford Center is down the street.)
“Can you run to the grocery store for us? Real quick, you don’t mind right?” (Of course not! In exchange, would you mind watching over the other patients?)
“I was starving. What is this place? A concentration camp?” (A nurse isn’t a Nazi if she asks you why you ate when you knew you weren’t supposed to before surgery.)
“I want a new room, this one doesn’t have enough character. “ (Should we Jackson Pollock the wall for you?)
“Oh #@$! off you camel jockey” (From a patient to a physician of middle-eastern descent. The patient was denied French dressing because of the sodium level.)
“I don’t like this shirt” (From a homeless man after being given free clothes.)
“I want my ICU room to have a view of the water, not the mountains. I need to be moved.” (The ICU is full. Use google images.)
“We are going to vacation Hawaii tomorrow. Can you just admit her and we’ll pick her up when we get back” (On a note attached to a medically complex patient who arrived via EMS. But enjoy Maui!)
“Can you only give me all-natural [anesthesia] drugs? I don’t want anything artificial in my body” (Well, I guess peyote is all-natural.)
“Talk to me about your sheet thread count” (I’d be pretty impressed if a nurse could answer this question.)
“Can you go out and buy a blow dryer so I can shower and not go to bed with wet hair?” (If this patient was John Stamos, I would’ve done it.)
“What do you mean my dog can’t be admitted too? This is a city hospital, you’re not supposed to turn anyone away.” (But +1 for humanizing your animal. The Hindu in me agrees.)
“I’ll have a coke on ice and a lemon slice and pretzels, thanks.” (Nurses are not flight attendants.)
What’s My Point?