Saturday, July 25, 2009

When Your Timing Sucks

Lately I’ve been getting patients who suddenly remember all of their outstanding medical concerns AFTER they’ve been seen and discharged! Last night, three of my patients started causing a ruckus over needing various scripts* to tide them over until they were able to see their family doctor. I fail to understand why they would not ask the doctor about their medication concerns when the doctor is actually seeing them rather than sauntering up to the nursing station 30 minutes after being discharged and then casually asking for scripts from the ward clerk or the nurse. I do not enjoy having to needlessly argue with a patient especially when I’m juggling a full area because the patient thought, ‘hell I’m here, might as well take care of ALL of my inane errands’. I’m also pretty sure that our docs don’t like being confronted with an eager pen holding patient who they thought was long gone asking for a script. I realize that sometimes patients forget to mention things to the doc because the entire department seems to be rushing, but it’s called an EMERGENCY department, not the WALK-IN clinic.

*Not narcotics – those are a completely different issue!


Grumpy, M.D. said...

They do this all the time. I'm walking them up to the check-out desk, and suddenly they remember other crap they want to discuss. I just tell them they'll have to make a new appointment for that.

Point them back to the triage counter up front and tell them that since their chart has been closed they'll need to go back and re-sign in, and wait in the lobby again.

DreamingTree said...

I would LOVE to follow Dr. Grumpy's recommendation, because he has the right idea. Unfortunately, our hospital is sooooooooo big on "customer service," that they'd frown upon my making the patient unhappy. It's ridiculous. The customer service model needs to go away, and people need to be reintroduced to personal responsibility.

Maha said...

Personal responsibility? Respect for other people's time?? Say what now? Luckily Canada doesn't have Press Ganey scores in place (yet) so I can still get away with being harsh with people who deserve it. However, my particular admin is still very customer service oriented which is total bs for the majority of patient interactions.