How do you Handle Labs & Patient Inquiries........
- 0Mar 16, '12 by MoriahRoseRNHello all,
I am seeking advice, and I am hoping this is where I am suppose to post. I recently had some blood work and a yearly Pap smear completed. I had an abnormal pap in 2009 and was instructed to follow-up in one year. The next pap was done in 2010 which came back normal and performed by a regular GP (I was suspicious he didn't get enough sample, maybe an unfounded fear).
Anyhow, I just had a new pap done this week and the results were back today. However, the office nurse would not give me any information, because the NP had not reviewed the results yet. I don't know if I am worrying too much, because I told the nurse about my abnormal pap in 2009 and concerns. Nonetheless, she said she would call me Monday after the NP looked at the results. If the pap was normal would you have just said every thing looks okay on the pap and not to worry over the weekend or would you have not given any information at all until the NP reviews? Thanks in advance for any responses.
- 2Mar 16, '12 by Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorDepends on the facility's policy, how the doc/NP/PA feels about you giving any results out, how the patient is, what type of test involved, whether it needs to be read/interpreted/reviewed first...
To be honest, if you have concerns about your test, the best person to talk to is your healthcare provider. Hope things turn out OK for you.
- 0Mar 16, '12 by Ashley, PICU RNIn most facilities, the nurse is not allowed to interpret lab results or even give abnormal results over the phone. The lab information cannot be given out unless the doctor/NP has reviewed the results. So if the NP hadn't look at your results yet, it's perfectly normal that the nurse would not be able to tell you what they said. In some offices, the nurse can't even give results over the phone, normal or abnormal. All results have to be given by the doctor or NP.
It's outside of the nurse's scope of practice to interpret lab results. If the nurse were to say, "Everything looks fine" and the doctor found something abnormal and then told the patient the results were abnormal, the practice and the nurse could both be held liable for the misinformation. So if my facility's policy was to not give results until they were reviewed by the NP, then I would not say that everything looks okay, even if I feel that the results were fine.
You'll find that this is similar in other areas as well, such as ultrasound and X-ray. The ultrasound or radiology tech can only take the pictures, but cannot comment on what they saw. The doctor is the one who has to review the images and talk to the patient about the results.
- 0Mar 16, '12 by Esme12, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorNO matter what we say you are going to worry........but I will tell you that bad news won't wait til monday and they's fit you in. Take a deep breath in and let it out. Driving yoruself nuts will only make you stressed and exhausted and and emotional wreck.
Worrying won't change the results now.....but I have always found that bad news can't wait til Monday. My prayers for you to find healing.
- 0Mar 17, '12 by Amanda.RNIt's poor customer service to make a patient wait for their results over the weekend, especially when they know you're worried about them. The nurse should have either told you that the results weren't available yet (I realize this is a lie, but perhaps it would have at least decreased your anxiety a little) or they should have paged the NP/MD to have the results interpreted if they didn't feel comfortable interpreting the results and at least summarizing them for you.
I am a supervisor at a primary care clinic (we also have OB/GYN services) -- we wouldn't have made you wait over the weekend knowing that the results were available. That's too bad. In our clinic, even if results are abnormal and we need to consult with/curbside a specialist to determine the best next step, we would tell you so. We strongly believe that patients should be made fully aware of everything, even if it's just to say that we're working on coming up with a plan. Fear of the unknown is the worst kind of fear, so we try to eliminate it as much as possible. Patients just want to know what's going on and be kept in-the-loop. You should consider giving feedback to the manager of the clinic so they can improve upon their customer service and patient care/satisfaction. It will be to their benefit to change their philosophies on customer service because insurance companies will soon be reimbursing based on patients' satisfaction with their care.
I hope the results come back okay. Monday probably feels like an eternity away, but it will be here soon. I know this is much easier said than done, but try not to worry because worrying isn't going to change anything.