Posted by isntshelovlei on January 6, 2011
According to the CDC, almost thirty-four percent of adults in the U.S. are obese. Surely that figure includes some of our doctors and nurses. In the shift from “sick care” to “health care,” or a more preventative health care model, we should be seeing a lot more patient education. But as a patient, how do you think I am going to look at you when you sit me down for the weight loss speech: chastising my diet/eating habits, telling me I need to increase my physical activity…if your BMI is just as high if not higher than my own? Isn’t that like the pot calling the kettle black?
Then at higher risk for heart attack and stroke we have our smokers, and more than twenty percent of adults in America smoke. If I’m a cardiac patient and you’re doing my discharge teaching and telling me how much I really need to kick the stick yet anyone standing within three feet of you knows that’s not perfume you’re wearing but more like eau de cigarette…I mean really…no wonder so much patient education just goes in one ear and out the other.
I’m not saying that health care professionals need to be perfect—totally abstaining from all smoking, drinking, and drugs (I mean what would I do without my caffeine?), and only eating tree bark and berries, after all, we’re human too, but shouldn’t we be a little healthier—or at least striving to be? What exactly is our responsibility (if any) to our patients here? Are we obligated to set any kind of example? Most of us are willing to inject foreign substances into ourselves all in the name of our “duty” to our patients. It seems to me that losing a few pounds or quitting smoking is a lot less invasive…
When faced with health care decisions patients will oftentimes turn to the health care provider and ask “if it were you, what would YOU do?” That’s because we’re the “professionals,” we’re more familiar with the most up-to-date research, we’re supposed to know what’s best (or at least be able to make an evidenced-based recommendation). Patients tend to look at their HCP as sort of a health role model. But when we don’t seem to be making healthy lifestyle choices ourselves, do we lose our credibility as patient educators?
Maybe a little practicing what we preach is in order…
Posted in Health Care, Nursing | Tagged: health care, hypocrisy, obesity, patient education, role model, smoking | 9 Comments »
Posted by isntshelovlei on September 6, 2010
Do you ever feel like you are treated a little differently because you’re a nursing student, nurse, or other health care professional? For example, are you provided with less patient education because people know that you work in health care and “assume” that you already know certain things? Or is patient education just not occuring as much as it should in general and we just notice it more because of our background?
For instance, one of my kids had a physical last week. Towards the end of the visit her doc mentioned that they had the flu vaccine (already?!?—it’s still like 100 degrees outside!) and that she should get it today. It was less of a question—she basically assumed that I would want my child to get the vaccine. And my silence I suppose, was implied consent. Why wouldn’t I you/she might ask? That is a post for another day…
Anyway, the physical is completed and the doc says as she leaves that the medical assistant will be in to give the vaccine. No “do you have any questions?” No “is she allergic to eggs?” Now I know that an egg allergy wasn’t documented in my kids’ EMR, but still it’s just a computer program—there are glitches and cooties and sometimes computers are just blatantly stupid. And there’s really no way that out of the hundreds of patients that she has she remembers my one little daughters’ allergies. I thought you were always supposed to (or maybe it’s just best/better practice) (re)confirm things like allergies at every encounter, especially when administering medications/vaccinations. And don’t some people develop allergies over the years?—you’re not always born with them. I’m just saying… But I didn’t stop her from leaving since I did happen to be comfortable with my level of education regarding flu vaccines. Besides—sometimes I just like to sit back and watch these things play out. Personally, I know how to ask questions when I want to. I am more than capable of making my needs known—just ask any of the early intervention agencies in my areas (poor things). My point though, is that some parents/patients DON’T. And that’s why we still have people that believe that vaccines cause autism. Information, good information, is power.
So the MA comes in with the vaccine, squirts it up my kids’ nose (it was LAIV/Flumist), gives me the information sheet (after the fact), gives my kid a sticker and goes on her merry way. Meanwhile, I’m wondering, who does the education around here? Shouldn’t they really give you those information sheets BEFORE they shoot your kid up with something? What if I look over the info sheet and suddenly realize “oh sh!t” my kid is pregnant (don’t act like that couldn’t happen in these days and times)…she shouldn’t get it?!? What if I couldn’t READ the damn thing at all (but then again I’m a nursing student I guess I should be able to read)? What if English wasn’t my first language? Maybe I’m over-reacting, my critical thinking (and often fastidious) student nurse wheels a’grinding… But then again, maybe I’m not.
Now I know that the person that administered my daughter’s flu vaccine was not a nurse but a medical assistant. And I know that patient education cannot be delegated to a UAP (unlicensed assistive personnel for those not fluent in healthcare/medicalese). But shouldn’t someone be doing the education? I just think that regardless of your background things like patient education should be part of every health care encounter even if it’s redundant (unless declined). I had a nursing professor that would say “well i’m not a cardiac nurse so I’m not familiar with xyz…” And she was a CRNP! But it wasn’t her specialty, so her knowledge base wasn’t as wide in that area. People shouldn’t assume that just because you’re a health care professional that you know (or even more importantly, understand) every nook and cranny.
So honestly I really don’t know for sure if my being a nursing student really was the reason why we received so little (if any) patient education. But it wouldn’t have been the first time. During a brief hospital visit of my own, it was frequently implied that they didn’t need to explain things to me because I was a nursing student. Key word in that sentence—”student.” But even when I become a full-fledged RN I will not know everything. Not to sound cliche but, “you never stop learning.”
If the nation is really going to try to shift from “sick care” to “health care” and focus on prevention, patient education will have to be a large part of that. Might as well start practicing now…
Posted in Family, Nursing | Tagged: Nursing, nursing student, patient education | Leave a Comment »