Friday, July 27, 2012

Barriers and Professionalism?

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! To be honest though the placement went by a lot faster than I thought. I can't really complain about the length of it as I'm only in 3 days/week. Obviously knowing that the placement is coming to an end and going back home for holiday is getting near - my mood has definitely been a lot better. Plus the weather is an added bonus. Finally summer is here...hopefully it'll last for more than 1 week.

Had a pretty straight forward short week (in for 2.5 days). Not much really happened, but I was placed with GPs who were more keen to get me involved and doing stuff, which was good. Did ONE (wowwww) consultation on an "unwell" child who was more miserable than anything. It was a fairly straight forward case as the child had a general viral illness and just needed a lot of TLC. I did get to go out with a district nurse which was good as it got me out from the practice. Visited 5 patients and went to their homes. Personally I still find it a bit uncomfortable to be in other peoples' homes. Maybe it's the way I was brought up or culture difference, but I feel very intrusive when going to someone's home and sitting down and making myself comfortable.

The nurse took me to an elderly couple's home who she knew quite well as she visits them almost every week for monitoring. The couple were immigrants and seemed to be quite private and quiet. Obviously noticing that when first meeting them, I instantly felt a bit hesitant entering their home as a complete stranger and at the end of the day - I am just a medical student. Seeing how they are, I obviously waited for them to ask me to sit down before making myself comfortable, but what really surprised me was the nurse's behaviour. I guess since she has known them much longer, she didn't feel the need to be more professional. As I sat down, the nurse was already walking towards the kitchen and asking at the same time to turn on the kettle to make herself a cup of coffee. It was obvious that it was rhetorical question as she was already halfway to the kitchen. She did also ask me if I wanted tea/coffee but I politely refused. I was very confused by this as the nurse was happily making herself at home, using the couple's kitchen and coffee/tea supplies, etc. I personally found it a bit rude, but then again I don't know how well she knows the couple. I would never use a patient's facilities and no matter how well I know them, I would never make myself comfortable in their home. I feel like it's just a professionalism thing more than anything else. At the end of the day, they are my patients and I need to treat them as patients to maintain the professional doctor-patient relationship...or in this case nurse-patient relationship. I guess in general nurses are a lot better with maintaining good relationships with patients and come across much more empathetic and kind. Not only did I feel very uncomfortable in the patient's home, the nurse was taking her sweet time to make herself comfortable and making her coffee, leaving me alone with the couple. It was nice talking to them, but at the end of the day - we were there to go over their blood-sugar diaries and just seeing how they are doing. What could be done very quickly...ended up being a fairly long ordeal (about 30-45 minutes). I don't like to make things take longer than they do. I do understand these are house-bound couples, but I feel like by taking so long to do a job may be interrupting their day. As an outsider - I want to make my visit as quick as possible so they can return to their activities. So again the whole making yourself comfortable in someone else's home was puzzling. Even better, the nurse went to use the couple's bathroom...which again made me raise an eyebrow. If I needed to use the toilet, I would've went before the visit, or hold it and go somewhere else to use the facilities.

If we flipped it around and a nurse/worker or whatever had to come to my home once a week to do some checks...I personally wouldn't want this person to make themselves comfortable in my home. Maybe I'm just a private person or how I have been brought up. I don't mind friends/people who I know well to come over and make themselves at home, but when professionals/workers come...I wouldn't be as comfortable with them making themselves at home. I see them as someone who is here to do a job - not to socialize and I wouldn't expect/want them to break down that barrier of professionalism.

Just found it a bit interesting and wanted to share that experience.

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