Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What Kind Of Service Is This?!


An irate family yelled at the top of his lungs and launched into a tirade of abuse against the nurses, exasperated that despite his mother's call bell rang twice, there was no one attending to her bursting bladder.

Nevermind a nursing senior tried to placate him and had apologised profusely, he became more abusive in language. A young nurse saved the day by bringing in a bedpan, averting a potential major disaster where the patient floods the entire emergency room with her huge volume of urine produced over the eternity of last 30 minutes (a nurse attended to her barely half an hour ago), drowning those who had the misfortune of devoting their life to medicine and nursing in the emergency room, along with the other patients...

Folding his arms and flushed with anger, he majestically glared at the healthcare minions that scrambled at his roar.

I had the misfortune of being his mother's attending doctor. But that did not stop me from being indifferent. I walked away to see another patient, to save a life potentially, rather than getting tangled up in PR mess.

Some people are just impossible.

How do you rate a hospital's service?

What is the benchmark that you judge the quality of your hospital experience against?
What, really, is your expectation of an emergency department?
What, do you make of nurses?

Dear friends, please bear in mind that a hospital is neither a restaurant or a hotel.

A hospital's primary purpose is to care for the sick (all of them, which in a busy emergency department like ours, amount to at least 500 patients a day), and when resources are adequate, secondarily we try to keep everybody happy and satisfied while at it.

Contrast this to other major service industries where customer satisfaction takes a whole lot more importance. Theirs are industries revolving around expendable needs and luxuries, where they are free to outprice low-income segments just to afford the level of services expected of them.

Hospitals just cannot afford to behave like hotels, restaurants, or airlines.

Consequently, nurses are not there to serve your every fancy and need at the flick of your finger like waiters or bellboys that subsist on your goodwill and tips. Theirs is a profession to serve sick people in need. Caring and tending to people with genuine health issues is their calling.

They are not your butlers/waitresses/cabin crew/cleaners/janitors. So do not expect the same service from my nurses.

Your average waitress doesn't wipe your bottom when you lose control of your asshole, does she? She probably will scream at you, get disgusted, and throw you out of the door.

Your average hotel concierge won't entertain you if your wallet is bone bare, save checking you into a room. Money comes first, your need will only be met as much as your credit limit allows for. Nurses don't give a fiddler's fart about how poor you are. As long as you are sick, you are their patients.

So if you want to boss around, go to Resorts World. If you are sick and you still want to boss around, try private hospitals.

However, if you end up in a government restructured hospital, please remind yourself that we are spreaded extremely thin with limited resources, and we have no choice but to do some serious prioritization all the time. In another word, we decide what is important and gets our attention first, not you. Some tasks will just have to wait, within reasonable confines of course.

We cannot attend to a bursting bladder and a blocked heart with the same urgency just to keep you happy. You cannot afford to have us do so too. Think about it.

So what kind of service is this?


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