I really enjoyed all of my experiences today. I took tons of notes. A grouping of notes was for my nursing students. There is so much I want to share with them. I think I do a pretty good job about reminding them that the patients are human beings and they should call them by name, not by room number. I let them know right away there is no dumb question or concern. I now realize that this is their first lesson in feeling empowered to ask questions and speak up. I am going to be sure to use that word specifically now. I also like to have my students look at vital signs and lab results overtime for comparisons and trends. This will definitely be something I reiterate.
Some new concepts that I would like to talk to them about is remembering to ask themselves: does this make sense? and what is the worse that could happen? Which hopefully leads them back to feeling empowered to ask questions and looking at those trends!
Sometimes students pick up bad habits from staff on the floor, like labeling the patient (needy, scribbler, etc.). I will be sure to help them not fall into that trap and really get to the root of why the patient calls a lot. Maybe they are lonely. Maybe we don’t give them enough time to ask questions. Maybe we aren’t doing a good job anticipating their needs. Maybe the family member takes notes because it helps them remember questions they want to ask the nurses or physicians or helps them remember all of the people that are caring for their family member–and is that so wrong? Nope! When I encounter family members that take notes I actually make sure I explain to them what I am doing and make sure they have time to write everything down and ask me questions. I read the vital signs off the machines and let them know what they mean. We even talk about the trends. I want them to be informed. I praise them for being an advocate for the patient. This leads me to my last thought. I want my students to know that the patient and family members are a part of the team and should be treated as such. If they tell you something is not quite right. Believe them! Ask them more questions.