One of the busiest places in the world is a hospital. Inside, you will hear tapping of stethoscopes, buzzing of alarms and rhythmic footsteps in a hurry to assess people needing medical care. To healthcare professionals, especially to nurses, time is of essence because a neglected second of responsibility can drastically result to losing a commodity as precious as life.
Hour by hour, people rush through swinging doors of the emergency department in dire need to be seen, examined and treated. A consent form is then handed for consenting persons for them to sign. In the middle of this ruckus and heightened sense of panic, majority of people are not aware that consent form signifies a legal relationship with the hospital. Of course, with this relationship clients are granted set of rights or things they should demand from nurses and other health care professionals as wells as responsibilities while under professional health care.
Here are 10 things often not communicated exactly by nurses that patients should demand from them:
1. Vital signs. Vital signs are physiologic clues to possible underlying problems and a part of baseline assessment. These include blood pressure, pulse rate, respiratory rate, and temperature. Whether in a hospital or a clinic ask for the exact reading rather than be comforted that you have “normal” results. Also, ask for the normal range. Record your result as this will be asked by doctors during checkups. They will appreciate it if you could give actual numbers instead of a mere adjective with relative and vague meaning to describe your vitals.
2. Schedule of doctor visits. As consumer of care, it is your right to know the time and frequency of doctor visits that you are going to have. You paid for it. Don’t hesitate to ask nurses during their rounds or to ring the buzzer. Do so in a manner that promotes mutual respect between you and the nurse.
3. Medications. Question everything that is given to you whether in a form of tablet or injectables. Medication errors remain to be one of the reasons of poor quality and uncompromised care. Due to hectic schedules, some nurses will just directly give your medications but take time to ask them what the drugs is and its purpose. Don’t go lie there like a passive dummy. Know your drugs and above all, safeguard your life.
4. Food. A doctor prescribes your diet inside the hospital. Sometimes, it is not much given emphasis during visits. Feel free to ask nurses the food that you are allowed and not allowed to eat to facilitate optimum recovery and maximize treatment effects. For example, it is a relief that you know that you should avoid caffeinated beverages when you are taking iron supplements.
5. Regulations. These include time of family visits, schedule of linen change and collection of garbage as well as comfort room cleaning and system of paying. Knowing these things will aid you in anchoring effectively your activities with their schedule while inside the hospital.
6. Laboratory tests results. Ask for the number of hours it will take to know the results to facilitate an efficient response in case of irregularities or abnormalities.
7. Signs and symptoms to observe. In most occasions, nurses are not going to stay for 24 hours beside the patient. The ideal ratio is that for every 12 patients, there should be one nurse so don’t hesitate to ask the nurses of the things that you are going to watch out for that would warrant their attention and the physician’s. This is not lessening their load. This is being an active participant of your care. This is prioritizing yourself regardless of the severity of your condition.
8. Activity. Once admitted, it is a common notion that the patient should assume the sick and passive role. In some cases, patients are completely able to get out of bed, walk for few minutes, and to carry out activities of daily living such as bathing. Don’t be reluctant to ask the nurse of the degree of activity that you are allowed to do as prescribed by the doctor.
9. Names. Know the names of the healthcare professionals directly correlated to your care. Through this, you will know who to call in case you need something or who to recommend to your friends when they and their family get sick. Also, if you are going to send a token of appreciation for a wonderful treatment inside the hospital, you will have the name to write on the card. Nurses are always overwhelmed to be remembered by their names.
10. Updates. Always ask for your progress and the doctor’s plan for your care. It’s your right to know what’s going on.
It is high time patients should assume the active role when it comes their health because once they have been discharged, during transition of care from hospital to home, they will assume the responsibility of the healthcare professionals. It’s only imperative for them to know as much as possible about their health condition to facilitate awareness, necessary lifestyle changes, optimum recovery, and independence.