The Fine Line – Pt. 6: Reliance and Open Communication

The Fine Line is a series of stories from Rick. Check out part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, & part 5!


Communication Is Vital

The I-J line (a central line place in the neck) presented new challenges, I finally understood Derek Zoolander’s inability to turn in both directions, and the swelling made reaching below my knees nearly impossible. This made me far more reliant on my nursing staff. I always introduce myself and give a brief explanation of what brought me to the hospital, and why I’m so unusually knowledgeable for a thirty year old patient. I tell every nurse, CNA, Charge Nurse, and maintenance staff my story if they’re willing to listen. Typically this helps improve the relationship between the staff and myself, we each ask better questions, we can determine the best/safest route for care quickly and doctors will have a better picture for what’s going on. So their assessments are faster, more accurate and we often can waste a moment on jokes and sharing unnecessary personal information, to ensure a rapid safe recovery. Everyone involved in my care has an opinion and it’s important that they feel that they can share their opinion. Sometimes unusual considerations can lead to better care overall.

Nurses Provide Important Care

It’s important that we remember as patients that nursing staff have an often thankless job. I find it best to thank them, acknowledge them, remind them how much I truly appreciate what they do. From what I’ve observed of others alongside me at the hospital I’d say this: It doesn’t matter if you’re paying someone to care for you, that does not give anyone the right to treat anyone less than equal. Something I found helpful was to make a list of things I needed before I would call in hospital nursing staff.

Know Your Rights as a Patient

As a patient rights advocate I know more about HIPAA, my legal rights within a hospital, the considerations that the hospital wants of me, and the information I should and should not disclose.

As a patient, I’m not saying that every person should know every law/code backwards and forwards, just a handful that pertain to your situation, along with the aspects of your condition. Every hospital has different standards of care; it’s good to familiarize yourself with what your hospital considers important.

Information is one of the biggest weapons that we as patients can utilize.


Check back for more from Rick’s series “The Fine Line”

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