Other Side Of the Stirrups


  • Specializes in OB/GYN,PHN, Family Planning. Has 20 years experience.

I am in the process of apply for MSN WHNP school. I have been an RN BSN for 16 years -everything from L&D to family planning clinics. I just had my well women check and 1st mammogram done (am I really 40???). It's always an experience to put yourself in the patients shoes. My healthcare is through Kaiser and I always schedule my appts with a NP when possible. She was running way behind that day. So asI sat for 45 min naked except for the flimsy paper gown and I decided to call it a learning experience. So often we stick pts in room and have them wait and wait -irritated when they poke their head out to ask how much longer. When she finally did come in she still had a smile on and even took a few minutes to talk to me about NP schools. I hope to remember that experience and remember how annoying it really is to wait. A great movie is "The Doctor" with William Hurt -we were required to watch that in nursing school. BTW next time I order a mammogram for a pt I'll also remember -OUCH!!!!


494 Posts

Fortunately you didn't have to have the bedpan experience, LOL!

Specializes in FNP. Has 25 years experience.

One of my preceptors was almost always 2-3 hours behind by the end of the day. Her patients loved her so much, they waited. The office closed at 5, but I was there until 8 on more than one occasion. You can't do all things. Pts call and expect to have their call taken or at least returned promptly, there are work ins, and then there are the people who make an appointment for finger pain and then walk in with a new limp, clutching their chest, a goiter the size of a watermelon, unstable VS and a family member trying to get an involuntary commitment b/c the patient hears voices telling them to dance naked on the neighbors patio (yes, real pt scenario).


727 Posts

This is where an excellent medical assistant can be so helpful! Back when I did that job, this is how I handled when we were behind: When I roomed a patient I immediately told him or her that we were running behind and asked them if they could wait. Some people had to get back to work, pick up kids, whatever and would be happier to reschedule than to wait indefinitely.

I tried to give an estimate of wait time, and then update the patient after they'd waited 10-15 mins...just pop my head in and say, "I'm sorry you're having to wait. Just wanted to make sure you know we haven't forgotten about you and we'll be with you as soon as we can."

If I had a female who was going to need to undress for the exam, I would put the gown and sheet where she saw them and then tell her, "Don't undress yet since you'll be waiting a while. I'll come let you know when it's time." Then I would request they gown up when the provider was going in to see the pt just prior to them.

A great medical assistant can save the provider from walking into a room where a patient is angry, which is just going to take longer after all.