When did patients become "clients"? When did patients become "clients"? | allnurses

When did patients become "clients"?

  1. 1 Allnurses, when was the first time you heard someone referred to as a client instead of a patient.

    So, I'm starting an ASN program in August but I am taking pharmacology right now. I've noticed that instead of referring to people as patients most of the recently published books refer to them as clients.

    To me, a client is someone with whom you have a business relationship and it implies that there is a significant customer service aspect to that relationship. It's a phrase I thought I would leave behind after leaving retail.
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  2. 58 Comments

  3. Visit  GHGoonette profile page
    #1 1
    First heard it in training , 1980's. In private practice, it's entirely applicable, though even now, 25+ years down the line, we still refer to our "clients" as patients. The concept was that the term "Patient" was somehow derogatory.
  4. Visit  Asystole RN profile page
    #2 1
    HA!

    There is a HUGE push to revamp hospitals to increase "customer" traffic. Better patient care equals better customer service and visa versa.

    When you visualize your patient as your customer it changes the way you treat them, for the better.
  5. Visit  JBudd profile page
    #3 3
    It's been going on for quite a while. Hospitals are competing for patients, and consider that they are selling a service (health care). Then they do Press Gainey type surveys to see how happy their customers are. All of which leads to the mentality that the nurses are there to "serve" them, and thus may be treated as "servants".
  6. Visit  Jessy_RN profile page
    #4 5
    Very common in our nursing school books as well as NCLEX practice q's. I hate the word but then again last hospital I worked for, secretaries were ( Business associates), CNA's (Clinical Associates), Charge nurse (Resource coordinator) and so on. Patients had no clue wth that meant.

    Though, I have yet to hear a nurse say "J, can you eyeball my CLIENTS as I transport my client in bed one to endo?"

    Never heard a doctor call me to update them on their client either.
  7. Visit  canesdukegirl profile page
    #5 11
    I first heard this term in nursing school. I have another degree in pre-law, and it was common to refer to customers as clients, because that was precisely what they were. It bothered me a great deal to refer to my patients as clients. I am still trying to understand why this gets under my skin so badly, and I think I may have come to a conclusion. You are correct when you state that a client is someone with whom you have a business relationship with. To me, a patient is someone who requires a very intimate sort of care at the most vulnerable times in their lives. A patient trusts you as their nurse in ways that are unparalleled in any other aspect; thus finding it difficult to compare to another discipline of work. While it is true that we as nurses practice customer service throughout our work day, I believe that we do so in a more personal way. We don't walk out of our patient's room after shaking their hand, for example, but rather after holding their hand.
  8. Visit  chihuahuaman profile page
    #6 5
    My understanding of this is that the direction of health care these days is to involve people in their health care. It is moving away from us, the HCP's, having all the power and dictating what will be done to heal them. The word "patient" means "those who suffer in silence". Therefore "patient" is incompatible with the philosophy that people are equal partners in the relationship and the word "client" more accurately reflects the viewpoint that they are consumers who are the primary decision-makers.

    Erik
  9. Visit  canesdukegirl profile page
    #7 3
    Quote from Jessy_RN
    Very common in our nursing school books as well as NCLEX practice q's. I hate the word but then again last hospital I worked for, secretaries were ( Business associates), CNA's (Clinical Associates), Charge nurse (Resource coordinator) and so on. Patients had no clue wth that meant.

    Though, I have yet to hear a nurse say "J, can you eyeball my CLIENTS as I transport my client in bed one to endo?"

    Never heard a doctor call me to update them on their client either.
    HA! "Can you please give me my client's vitals?" or "Can we please get this client to the OR stat!" So ridiculous sounding! It sounds as though we are trying to depersonalize medicine.
  10. Visit  Asystole RN profile page
    #8 1
    Quote from canesdukegirl
    HA! "Can you please give me my client's vitals?" or "Can we please get this client to the OR stat!" So ridiculous sounding! It sounds as though we are trying to depersonalize medicine.
    The opposite actually.

    A client is a person requesting service that they are purchasing. A patient is more like a faceless sick person that we will heal regardless of their feelings.
  11. Visit  Asystole RN profile page
    #9 1
    Sounds rediculous to change patient to client but in LTC the term of "resident" is much more common than "patient."
  12. Visit  Jessy_RN profile page
    #10 6
    Quote from canesdukegirl
    HA! "Can you please give me my client's vitals?" or "Can we please get this client to the OR stat!" So ridiculous sounding! It sounds as though we are trying to depersonalize medicine.
    To me, as the patient, it sounds as you are there for me (the client), only for $$ purposes. I don't know, sounds more 'personal' to me to be refered as your patient. Don't ask me why, but it does. Patient, to me, gives it more of a caring tone to it rather than strictly business. Afterall, I am supposed to treat the patient hollistically, no wait, the client.
  13. Visit  eriksoln profile page
    #11 1
    Quote from woahmelly
    Allnurses, when was the first time you heard someone referred to as a client instead of a patient.

    So, I'm starting an ASN program in August but I am taking pharmacology right now. I've noticed that instead of referring to people as patients most of the recently published books refer to them as clients.

    To me, a client is someone with whom you have a business relationship and it implies that there is a significant customer service aspect to that relationship. It's a phrase I thought I would leave behind after leaving retail.
    This is how it was explained to me:

    Patient is a medical term. When we use this term, we are speaking of the person strictly in medical terms. "The patient has a potassium level of w/e and is on lasix, I will recommend the doctor considers an oral supplement."

    Client was the preferred term of my school, it symbolized treating the pt. as a whole. "The patient has a potassium level of w/e and is on lasix, I would recommend the doctor consider an oral supplement but I know this client C/O having too many pills to take as it is. Perhaps adding 20meq potassium to the fluids is a better option."

    It was a mantra, a mnemonic to remember to treat the pt. as a whole, remember the pt. needs both as a "customer" and a "patient".
  14. Visit  woahmelly profile page
    #12 0
    Quote from Asystole RN
    Sounds rediculous to change patient to client but in LTC the term of "resident" is much more common than "patient."
    I understand that. My friend works in LTC and always refers to "residents". I guess I'm just curious as to when the business/managerially directed term of client came into common nursing school usage.

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