Tips for Being a Good Patient

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NurseDiane

NurseDiane

298 Posts

One of the most helpful things a patient can do is bring with them a hand written or typed medical history---any medical issues like hypertension, diabetes, etc., allergies, and what medication you're on with dosages & schedule (don't forget any vitamins or supplements you're on). It makes doing the paperwork SO MUCH EASIER and FASTER than going through everything verbally with a patient.

GENJEN

GENJEN

22 Posts

I understand what you are saying about being a "good" patient. When I was in the hospital for major surgery that happened to be the same place that I had taken student's in the past, that was extra for me. There were some nurse's still there that knew who I was but the challenge was with the new nurse's. One thing that I never did or do is to let the unknowing staff know that I am a nurse. I really wanted to be treated as everyone else. You just think about what information that you required during admissions and their stay that would impede there recovery. You will do fine.

KathyDay

KathyDay

Specializes in Patient Safety Advocate; HAI Prevention. 5 Articles; 80 Posts

Partner with your nurses up front. Don't worry about being "good", concern yourself with doing what you can to help yourself to heal quickly. Confide in your nurses about any private issues that may affect your care or wellbeing, because they cannot read minds. Bring an advocate with you in case you cannot speak for yourself and to help you with simple tasks. Again, it is not your concern to be a "good" pateint, it is your job to be courteous, expect courtesy, and communicate and partner with your caregivers for your best healthcare outcome. PS..if you can manage it..humor can lift any mood.

Emmysue

Emmysue

5 Posts

I have been both the nurse and the patient from time to time. The first thing you can do to be a good patient is to learn all you can about your disease and /or procedure. As a patient never start by saying, "I hate to be a bother". You are NOT A BOTHER, you are OUR RESPONSIBILITY! You are a part of our chosen profession as well as our livelihood.

If someone ---anyone--- who is there to care for you tells to to do what your doctor has told you not to do, point it out and don't do it. After all, not everyone has access to the orders on your chart and only you have access to conversations. Sometimes doctors forget to write orders.

When I had a laminectomy (spinal surgery) after which I was not to twist in any way. A CNA was trying to move me in bed and wanted me down a few inches and said, "Just wiggle."

I had to refuse because it was not a thing I should do. Be your own advocate.

Finally, just ask for your needs. A light on every 10-15 minutes in the same room is disruptive if the requests are for trivialities. There may be times when you actually NEED something every 10-15 minutes after a procedure but these times soon pass and constant demands sometimes result in staff who will try to avoid you. This is bad attitude from a staff but it happens. Good luck with your surgery and God be with you.

stevie22

stevie22

Has 9 years experience. 39 Posts

It may not be your job to be a "good" patient however it does take two to build a good rapport so keeping lines of communication wide open and making your needs known are important to ensure good care is met. Here are my thoughts from the perspective of a nurse and as a patient. I would definitely let all the nurses and techs that care for you over the two days you are there know about your enuresis...that will better help them to care for you and they will know ahead of time that you may need more frequent checks. I have no idea what type of surgery you are having or whether or not you will be able to care for yourself at all after it but IF you are then you would handle it the same way you would at home. If you will be needing assistance with toileting, changing, getting out of bed, etc...then that is what they are there for and assisting you would be how they will handle it in the hospital. They should have everything you need at the hospital however I would bring my own stuff from home if that is what you are comfortable with. For me personally, I like my own stuff. Whatever you do, do not worry about being an inconvenience to the staff. This is their job, this is what they get paid for! The LAST thing you need to be concerned with is inconveniencing them. A few other things I would recommend for your stay. If your surgery will be something that warrants pain medication, don't wait until your pain is really bad to call for medication. Although you should not have to wait, there is always a good chance you have to hit the call bell more than once, or your nurse is with another patient doing a 45 minute dressing change right at the exact moment that you suddenly have 10/10 pain. Its very hard to play catch up on pain once it gets really bad so don't wait until it gets to that point to call for it. If you have family or friends that can stay with you throughout the day or even over night and the hospital will allow it, do it. No, you should not have to rely on family or friends in order to get the best care but I'd rather have somebody with me that can walk out to the front desk and ask for help then to be ringing a call bell all night (in the hopefully unlikely event they aren't running for your call) because I cannot help myself all the while sitting in a wet incontinence pad. And, worse case scenario, IF for any reason you do not get the best care you deserve then call the patient advocate right from your hospital phone, or the director of the unit, charge nurse, whoever you need to if things for any reason do not go well. I hope you have a great, successful surgery and best wishes to a speedy recovery. Your care should be nothing less than wonderful.

canigraduate

canigraduate

3 Articles; 2,107 Posts

I get what you mean but what about modesty,especially for showering?? I know you're used to and everything but it doesn't make it any less strange or even incomfortable for the patient. I'd have a big problem with it.

There's a couple of false assumptions here.

First, if you are alert and oriented and are a fall risk, you need someone to help you to the bathroom to keep you from falling. They don't have to stay with you unless you are confused or have demonstrated you can't be trusted to call for help to get back to bed. This, obviously, only applies to sitting on the toilet.

Second, if you are well enough to take a shower, you probably aren't on fall precautions. If you are unsteady and alert and oriented, you will be escorted to a shower chair. If you are unsteady and confused, you are likely not going to get a shower. A bed bath is more likely.

keepitsecret

keepitsecret

4 Posts

Greetings everyone.

Wow! So many super helpful responses. Your reactions and advice really cast a picture of what it will be like -- and kind of what the priorities are for those in nursing care. The tip about bringing along a written medical history and medication list makes a lot of sense. I wouldn't have thought Of that. I'll also be sure to do my best to communicate well about my enuresis.

I'm actually going in for Bariatric surgery. I'm a pretty big human being, 6'1" and 295lb. My bmi is kind of on the low side for this procedure but I feel like it's the best choice for me to get to a healthy weight. I'm not sure if any of you have much experience with it but it seems like I'll be fairly mobile pretty quickly after surgery.

I'm kind of a young guy, 34. And it seems like the bed wetting thing isn't common for people my age, so I'm rather sensitive about it. That's why I ask. Anyways, thanks much for engaging me on this stuff, I feel better about it already!

Ayleiah

Ayleiah

5 Posts

I am late getting into the nursing thing because of the years spent in and out of hospital. Being a patient is the last thing most people want to do and the only thing on your mind is going home. I have had 17 neuro (brain) surgeries and I also have MS. The most recent stays have been for hyponatremia and I would get so home sick I would rip out the I.V. and beg my husband to pick me up, knowing full well that I couldn't go home and the i.v. would have to be put back in. The only advice for the patient is, if you can sleep, sleep. If you can't sleep "at all" speak to your doctor, being in the hospital with the different sounds, different beds etc can make achieving any sleep at all impossible. If you knit or cross stitch and are able to have it with you, bring it, or have your family bring it for the times that you are up to doing things but are still in hospital. Obviously books and magazines are great however those only last so long. Puzzle books like Sudoku are great for wasting time as well. Although it's hard to think of anyone else when you are hurting or ill, try to remember there is always someone worse off than you, yelling/ talking or laughing loud may wake a patient that hasn't been able to rest due to 10/10 pain.You're not the only patient your nurse has, if you are able/allowed to get out of bed for that warm blanket or for a bottle of water do so, or send a visitor for the item.

I am not a good patient, and I find it upsetting because it is completely out of character for me to be mean or rude.... in saying that, try to remember the nurse is there to help you, try to be nice... :). My daughter told me what I said to an elderly lady in the elevator after a foot surgery ( I don't remember ( thank God)).. It was just after getting out of surgery and my family was taking me home. We were in the elevator and some elderly lady asked what happened to my foot, before my daughter could reply... I opened my mouth and told this nice lady to ("mind your %#@*#!&) business").. I am still embarrassed... When a person is in pain and anesthetic is involved, things are often said that are out of character, nurses are aware of this and take it with a grain of salt. The job of the patient is to get well...

Edited by Ayleiah
addition

allegra78

allegra78

14 Posts

Don't be rude or disrespectful. We are there to help you, not hurt you

LondonTea

LondonTea

3 Posts

I delete this comment because it was placed in the wrong section, sorry

Edited by LondonTea
place in wron g section

Nsg is an art

Nsg is an art

14 Posts

I have had the unfortunate experience of being in the bed and at the bedside. It's hard to hear that your having surgery and your worried about being a "good patient"? The best thing you can do is advocate for your self. I agree that you should stay on top of your pain, prior to the surgery, this might be a discussion to have with the dr. I am unsure what type of surgery you are having, but depending the might order a PCA, it is a pain medication self administering device in your IV. You might be best with one if those for the first night.

#2- It's important for you to think about your care and comfort. Bring your own pillow...who doesn't sleep better on their own? Maybe your cell (charger too- tape the cord to the table or bed so your phone doesn't go falling and don't forget it) headphones- makes a list of songs that relax you. Comfort yourself- if you like special tea- bring a few tea bags- I'm not saying pack 10 suit cases. But it will be those little things that will comfort you. Everyone has their own special things they like or had when they weren't feeling well- I like crackers, ginger ale or apple juice (with lots of ice)Popsicles (any color- Italian ice,) tea and honey, candied ginger and hard candy.

3. If you prefer a particular type of pads or "depends" bring them. I know that it is difficult for you, but we truly deal with this and other issues daily. i also agree that letting a nurse or nursing assistant know is best.

4. Remember that if there is something that you need or are uncomfortable with, please ask or say something. If you stay quiet to "be good" it's going to be a long 2 days 😥. If you would not prefer a male nurse then ask for a female nurse. If you are in pain, ask for assistance- if it's too soon- then their is always something that can be done.

Remember that we don't volunteer- we do get paid to be there- you coming to our place of business is a choice, if patient don't come- we don't have jobs. Don't worry about being a good patient or a bad patients for us- worry about you. When your relaxed, your pain will be better,when you sleep, everything will be better. good luck to you, I wish you were my patient. Please report back on how the experience went. 🙏🏼

MaudKennedy

MaudKennedy

52 Posts

Good luck for your surgery :)