Aug 01

ask-the-nurse

The Nurse is probably one of the most misunderstood, often-ignored positions in the medical field. You would think that with the number of shows that pay homage to this profession that we would understand their duties but the only thing I know about a nurse is that Greg Focker (played by Ben Stiller) in Meet the Parents was a male one… okay I know a bit more but not much. Hmm there was that one Candy Stripers movie that used to come on all the time… Anyway.

Go ahead and ask 10 people what a nurse’s duties are and I guarantee you get 10 different answers. We are ignorant and honestly not very curious about nurses. This becomes a bit of a problem when we become seniors and through the same attitude choose to leave our healthcare “up to the experts” and assume that nurses and doctors share the same knowledge and duties. This can be detrimental to our health in more ways than one.

To better educate myself and you readers on how to help our nurses, and understand their duties, I asked a working nurse. She in turn passed the question around to her co-workers and while I got a good number of trolltastic replies from them, I listed the helpful ones below for you to use.

What Your Nurse Wants You To Know

  1. Know your patient rights. You have them.
  2. All procedures must have an informed consent. That means you have to understand what we are going to do to you. If you don’t understand don’t sign. Doctors are supposed to explain the procedure and risks to you… not the nurse.
  3. Tell the truth. We know when you’re lying. The urine drug test tells us what you did.
  4. WebMD is a reference, not a medical doctor.
  5. Always ask questions first.
  6. Have a family member stay with you, or at least visit often. You will get better treatment.
  7. Don’t ask nurses questions that you should be asking the doctor.
  8. If you drink a six pack a day, please admit it. We can prevent you from going into Delirium tremens (DTs). Our job is not to detox you.
  9. Don’t be intimidated by your doctor. Ask questions. He/She is there to help. They work for you. You can actually fire them too!
  10. Know your medications. If you don’t know why you are taking something, ask!
  11. Don’t hit us it’s a felony! Don’t hit on us – we don’t want you.
  12. Don’t use the ED as your PCP. Get a doctor.
  13. Don’t be an ass. If you are going to refuse treatment, go home. Someone else needs your bed.

To sum it up, the nurse said the following: Be an active participant in your care. You are the best advocate for your health. Understand that healthcare is a business first and foremost. It is fraught with inequality on several levels. Know your rights. Ask questions and be informed.

See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.