Archive for December, 2011

Spread the word – Nurses passing report / giving medications should not be disturbed

Doctors gripe about nurses and patients. Nurses gripe about doctors and patients. Patients and their family gripe about nurses and doctors. At the end of the day, the healthcare professionals hunker down and do their jobs as they feel they have a responsibility to, and the patients still need to seek medical care.

 Yes, we complain that patients nowadays have a sense of entitlement and enjoy the sick role, treating the overworked nursing staff like their maids. How often do you see or hear of patients who complain that the nurse is within sight, within earshot but refuses to stop what she’s doing to help a young man admitted for pneumonia get a cup of milo… just because she’s wearing a bright-coloured vest that says “SERVING MEDICATION”.

Doctors too are guilty of the same, grumbling that the nursing staff are so busy “passing report” that they cannot answer queries / spare the case files / serve the patient whose family is complaining loudly about the lack of milo.

 You would think that we would know by now that allowing the nurses to pass report and give medications uninterrupted is shown to decrease errors. Yet people routinely complain about the nurses doing something that is shown to help them (the doctors by knowing the patients better, the patients by not giving them medication that can trigger anaphylaxis and lead them to die)

Perhaps what we need is better information giving.

For instance, the ward should have a poster of a nurse in the serving medication vest “Please let me focus on serving you the right medicine.” or something to that effect.

The medical officer room should have one targeted at the doctors that says “Please let us pass report. Proper handing over lets us help you with your patient.”

Think it’ll help? Maybe it’s a start.