05/09/2012: Laurali Noteman
Imagine you have just been admitted to the Emergency Department of the hospital. You’re nervous, frightened, and anxious. The ER has another patient who has similar feelings.
You have a physician, nurse, nurse assistant and an admit clerk attending to your needs. Perhaps, they are fighting for your very life. Your spouse is there with you. Of course the person in the other bed is also being attended to possibly by the same group of medical providers, but their spouse, one of their children and a well-meaning friend are there too.
It’s getting pretty crowded. Then your neighbor comes in, they heard it on their scanner. Your physician is walking around people and talking over your neighbor who is asking what they can do to help. Your nurse’s aide is taking your vitals; the nurse is trying to assist the doctor. The admission’s clerk is asking your spouse insurance questions and contact information; a lab tech has appeared but has to ask visitors to please move out of the way.
This scenario sounds pretty hectic doesn’t it? To be honest with you a trip to the ER or delivery room is hectic and can be frightening. Family members and friends can help the situation. If you see a mass of people in the ER, maybe you should weigh your wants against the patient’s care. Are you going to interrupt or be in the way? Are you adding to your loved ones anxiety? If there isn’t a chair for you in the hallway, maybe you should be taking a seat in the waiting room so medical personnel can work more efficiently. Don’t worry, dad will come when it's time and get you it’s not very far to the waiting area.
Here are some tips that may help everyone concerned. If you are asked to leave and take a seat in the waiting room, understand that is where you will do the most good at the moment. Stop at the nurse’s station ask if that new mom can have visitors, or maybe she just wants to have a nap, she’s been through quite a bit in the last 24 hours. If you are the third visitor, (family or friend), take that seat in the waiting room. It is simply hospital etiquette and you are still within just a few feet if you are needed.
If you were in the ER and overheard what was going on, remember the information is private. Not for public discussion. Not in the grocery store or over coffee at a local watering hole or on Sunday to see what was done to help the patient and the family. Out of respect and concern for the privacy and care of the patient keep it to yourself. It really should not be shared with friends. “I thought you would want to know” is really only something the patient has a right to say.
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