Thursday, September 10, 2009

Three for Three?

Without wanting to get into detail, guarding what little personal information I can, I've had to have nurses drop by the apartment to assist with health care. It's not a huge deal, I'm not actually sick. Anyways, two different nurses have come into my home, touched me, documented the care and future needs - and neither one has introduced themselves. I have no idea who they are. I haven't asked them, making a little game out of these appointments. How many nurses will come before someone practices a little bit of courtesy?

I don't want to become friends with these nurses.

I don't want to have a beer with them.

But I would like to address them by name.

Actually, I thought today was going to be different, when the phone rang I answered to hear an unfamiliar voice. He said, 'I am ...' and there was a pause before he finished the sentence '... the nurse.' That's as close as I've gotten to an introduction.

You know what's weird about all this? It was Joe who noticed the fact that we've never been introduced to the nurses who are coming into my home, coming into my bedroom, touching me a little bit ... and leaving. I know this sounds WAY different than it actually is ... but what the hell ...

So tomorrow at 5 they'll be back. I'll be waiting.

Anyone want to take odds that it will be three for three.

20 comments:

Heike said...

Do you think they are being rude? Or trying to keep a professional distance, not making the touch in any way private. When one of them does introduce themselves, will you do me a favor and ask them? I do wonder about this one...

Dave Hingsburger said...

Heike,

I recieved a note from a friend of mine who is a nurse who said that it is a requirement of the college of nurses that nurses introduce themselves, at least by first name, before giving treatment. She has suggested that I make a report to the college of nurses.

wendy said...

I don't know if it'll be 3 for 3 but I'm certainly curious to hear!

ivanova said...

I know it would destroy the mystery (not to mention screw up the bookmaking potential), but if it were me that would drive me bats and I would just ask, "By the way, what's your name?"

Kristin said...

That is incredibly rude. Sadly, I bet i will be 3 for 3. And, I would report this behavior like your friend suggested.

Stephanie said...

Hi Dave -

We have nurses that come to our house too - part of a medical program my son is in. Long story short - they are providing you a service in your home. YOU lay down the rules on how to be addressed, etc. It is hard to deal with this issue, as you don't want to tick the person off who may be doing some ouchy proceedure on you in about 3 minutes. However, should something go wrong, or come up missing (it happens), you need to know who was in your home and tending to you that day.

You might just create a sign-in book that they have to sign as soon as they hit the door. That way, even if they are rude and don't tell you their name you have it in writing. I am surprized that what ever agency you are using does not have forms that need to be filled out and left with you each day.

Tomorrow, I will also e-mail you a copy of the "Rules of the House" form that our nursing agency has us fill out. Granted, these nurses are here for an entire shift, but you might want to at least have some ground rules no matter how long they are there. :)

Steph

Andrea S. said...

I agree that the nurses should at least introduce themselves. I don't see how knowing their name would blur boundaries that much, even aside from the fact that your friend indicates that it is actually a requirement. After all, we usually know the name of the doctors with whom we make our appointments (at least their last name) and they manage to maintain those boundaries.

As a deaf person, I often use the video relay service to communicate with hearing people on the phone. (The video relay service uses a video hook up to put a sign language interpreter on my TV screen so s/he can translate what is being said to me on the phone.) By internal policy, the interpreters don't identify themselves by name (not sure why, confidentiality or something) but they do identify themselves by an id number, so if you have a comment about the work done by one of the interpreters you still have a way to clarify who you're talking about. This respects the need for accountability. An interpreter can sometimes be involved with some intimate conversations, though at least they aren't touching (not by video hook up! :-) ) Personally I'm content with id numbers. I'm not looking to become friends with all my interpreters, esp. not the ones who only interpret the occasional phone call here and there. And at least they acknowledge the need for us to be able to identify them.

Belinda said...

That is so interesting. I'll soon be going to England and staying with Mum for two weeks. She has Helping Hands ladies come in three times a day. I never thought about it before, but I think that it is always me that introduces myself and asks their name.

Hmmm, I wonder if I could stand the suspense and just wait and see what happens if I say nothing but "Hello." I know it's not quite the same because I will be a visitor there, but I will pay attention.

Susan said...

Ah, Dave, I'm with you. There's just enough rascal in me to want to see what will happen tomorrow without any direct interference on your part with the status quo. This is the stuff stories are made of. :) My bet is that someone will break the mold, and actually treat you with the respect you deserve for simply being a human being, never mind providing them with gainful employment, but we'll see! I'm sure you'll keep us posted...

Amy said...

ok so i after reading this it did bother me. i am a first year dsw student on my third day of classes. already we have learned about treating people with respect by introducing ourselves before we go any further into treatment. my son has behavioral disabilities and if a worker didn't introduce themselves i would feel uncomfortable with them and wonder if they really didn't like their position/job or what their issue was for being rude.

Anonymous said...

Dave
You should try being a five year old in the system! If I wasn't there to advocate for my son I shudder to think how he would be treated!!

Before anyone touches my son I NOW say...@I'm Linda, this is Robert'. Then I turn to my son and say 'doctor x wants to look at your ear, eye, etc. Is that OK?' And if Robert agrees we proceed.

With the medical profession I have found guys and gals who are wonderful in respecting my son as a person and a patient. I have also found as many who treat him like he is a number on a chart!

What you are asking for is not beyond the call of duty.....Its a basic requirement!
Sounds like the nurses attending you Dave need someone to remind then of that fact!
Love LinMac((Linda)

Dave Hingsburger said...

Ok, that is three for three. Trouble is, really, other than this, they've been pretty nice.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Oh, and, as of the next visit, I'm starting to ask for names.

Clay said...

I'm a retired Home Health Aide, and can tell you that their behavior is rude and unprofessional as well. We were all required to wear name tags with photos, an of course all Aides, Nurses, Therapists of any kind would naturally introduce themselves, chat briefly to establish a rapport, before getting on to business. Shoo, even the folks who came around to take blood samples did that, and they are very much "on the go" all day.

I say, "Make them recognize your humanity" before allowing them to do anything. You have a right to know their names.

~Macarena~ said...

I thought the third time would be the charm. In the movie, it would be Popcorn Girl, hence double the charm.

Word verification: axessem
Ha!

Billie said...

I find that truly disturbing!

miss mouse said...

AARRRGGHH!!! As a nurse who has done home care in years, this is SO wrong! Doesn't matter who it is, every person should identify themselves, their title, and what agency they are coming from EVERY TIME until you and Joe know them by sound or sight. As other commenters have noted,these folks are in YOUR home to assist YOU! When we forget, gently but firmly reminding us is a benefit to all of us, and to other clients who are not able to be as clear about boundaries. The idea of a log book is a good one, if you do not have to fill out some sort of service slip each time a provider comes to your home. Can help with future billing issues, helps you and Joe sort out which providers are a good fit and which ones you'd prefer not to see again, etc.
Will send healing thoughts your way.

what_the_heck_of_that? said...

This happens soooo often for my young daughter (and me). I've gone from the early days of politely asking "I'm sorry, I didnt catch your name?" at the end of an appointment to now blatantly saying "You obviously know who we are but you haven't introduced yourself yet" (smilingly) halfway through an appointment. But I've never received an apology for rudeness as they give me their name. It just doesn't seem to register...

Anonymous said...

I'd advise you to call their supervisor. Home Health nurses are in and out of so many homes doing tasks that many go on automatic. It's not right, but they're only human. Call the supervisor and ask the nurses (all the nurses, as there seems to be a pattern) to remember to introduce themselves. They are also supposed to be verifying YOUR name and date of birth before they "touch you a little". Any decent supervisor should be able to put out a general message kindly reminding all the workers to introduce themselves. Good luck!

abby said...

It has been touched on before, but I also first noticed this with people caring for my daughter. At 3, she is more sensitive and tentative at doctor visits, and I find myself continually having to ask for names so I can say, "Ok, now Jane is just going to poke that needle in your arm." Just seems more reassuring and human to be able to throw a name around. And in the end, even if it takes a little longer to get there, you end up with better rapport, and hence more information and better care.

So I figured this was just a kid thing, but I guess it goes deeper. Maddening how people can make an uncomfortable situation MORE difficult by ignoring a common courtesy that we use in every other aspect of our lives.