Patient or Client??? Which do you say? - page 3

I am in nursing school...our instructors and our books refer to patients as clients. We've had long discussions with differing views as to which is correct. Which do you say?... Read More

  1. by   Nightcrawler
    the term client has grown out of the striving of hospital administrations competing for healthcare dollars and shoving business language down all of our throats. yes the patient is paying for their care, and they do have the ability to take their "business" elsewhere. that is a fact. i however want them to choose the services of my hospital because we provide the best care, whether or not that means that we are providing the best "customer service". there is a difference between the two. if i am working as a customer service representative, and providing services to my client then i will strive to make sure that they have their preferred foods provided for dinner regardless of what diet is ordered by their doctor. i will ensure that every client is in a private room, and that they get a good nights sleep regardless of whether their clinical condition requires hourly checks or vital signs.

    if on the other hand i am a nurse, providing care to a patient. i will take appropriate actions to make sure that their clinical picture improves and that they are able to go home at the best possible level of functioning. if that means that my patient has a scheduled blood draw at 0200, or that they need to get up to a chair for meals when they would prefer to sit in the bed, then i will ensure that those things happen.

    providing medical treatment should not be a business, and i believe that our medical system is such a mess in part because we have let insurance companies and hospital administrators turn it into one. if administrators spent more time concentrating on good patient outcomes and advertising those, and less time paying attention to client feedback and client survey results, perhaps the patients will start seeing nurses less as [color="lime"]waitresses and more as nursing professionals

    rant over
  2. by   Valanda
    I do some private pay private duty home care. I consider the ill person the patient and the parents or children who are paying the bill the clients! Now, isn't that confusing?
  3. by   suzy253
    I too learned 'client' in NS...but I say patient.
  4. by   mharrah
    Interesting topic. When I was in nursing school (in 2005), the instructors and nursing students called them patients. The same went for when I began working at the hospital. I never heard the word client. Now that I'm working for a wellness company, they are always client NEVER the patient. But this is a unique type of nursing where I provide coaching and education over the phone to employees of companies that have paid for our wellness program services. So I think it is appropriate to call them clients. It's just my opinion, but I think that in the hospital setting, patient is the appropriate term. If I was admitted to a hospital, I would want to be called a patient. What are they going to do next....change it to "inclient" instead of "inpatient" ??haha.
  5. by   Alois Wolf
    At my job we call them clients, patients or individuals interchangeably... so yeah.
  6. by   RNperdiem
    Walking into the clinic in street clothes= client
    In hospital in a hospital gown=patient
  7. by   dylansmama
    I think client sounds too much like a 'business'.
  8. by   Alois Wolf
    Okay so I'm in the second week of nursing school and we talked about this. After thinking about it, I think I'm going to prefer to call them clients, because in our fundamentals book it explains that patient comes from the latin for "to bear" or "to suffer", as if the patient is passive in their care, where as client is a collaborator in their care. They are coming to us to improve their health in one way or another and are just as responsible for that health as we are. We provide them the service of providing that care, education and other services. There was more to it than that, but that's all I can really think of off the top of my head without going to my car and getting my funds book out.

    Or perhaps I'm being brainwashed.
  9. by   ElvishDNP
    Quote from Alois Wolf
    Or perhaps I'm being brainwashed.
    Yeah, I heard those lines in NS too......
  10. by   pagandeva2000
    In school, we referred to them as patients. When I worked in psych, we were told to refer to them as clients...for some reason, management stated that this was a more 'personable' name to call them.

    Now, if you dealt with the one I had about 15 minutes ago, you would have heard me say under my breath "M-F" (and didn't mean Monday to Friday).
  11. by   loricatus
    I refuse to call a patient a client. To me saying 'client' implies I have a business relation with them, which I certainly do not. I think this term was developed either by hospitals who view patients as potential sources of revenue; or, by nursing instructors who are afraid that by calling them 'patients', nurses may be perceived to be practicing medicine. Whatever the case may be, this is a 'patient' who is seeking some form of medically related treatment/service and I don't give a hoot if they pay for the services rendered or not, since I have no interest in them from a financial standpoint.

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