Today was difficult. Listening to how communication can go so wrong so quickly is intimidating. As a nurse, I thought healthcare allowed people to choose their desires. Michael and his family were never given that option. The neurosurgeon never gave them an alternative… he said this is what Michael needs to survive and that his family trusted that the neurosurgeon had Michael’s best interests at heart. I can keep going on about all the terrible things that happened, but I’m not.
We need to make a practice change. As a nurse, I’m going to start giving my patients the options to make more decisions about their care… and I’m going to start educating my patients on the healthcare system and what they can do to be informed. When I do an admission, I’m going to start asking them the tough questions- do you have a medical power of attorney? Have you thought about what you want out of this hospital stay? Have you thought about who you trust to make decisions for you in the event that you cannot? We wait too long to have these conversations with our patients. It’s a simple thing to do but it may help their care in the long run.