My beliefs in the importance of professionalism have been cemented even more through witnessing unhappy patients and through being an unhappy patient. Over the school year, I began watching a television show about childbirth. Labor and delivery is highly interesting and it is normal for a woman to deliver in a hospital, yet more and more low-risk pregnancies have been using a midwife and delivering in a birthing center.
Most women using birthing centers are have given birth previously in a hospital and are able to compare their different childbirth experiences. Many times the women complained that although the doctors and nurses were professionals, they felt that they had no control over their delivery and were not properly informed of their rights. The doctors and nurses told them what they were going to do but some of the women felt rushed and were ignorant of their rights during and after the procedures.
Many of the women who were able to compare birthing styles cited the out-of-control feeling coupled with the lack of knowledge of the procedure as the main reason they chose to deliver away from a hospital. One does not need to deliver a child to understand that the impact of a positive hospital experience hinges on whether a person feels helpless or informed, even empowered.
It is that thin line between a positive and negative hospital experience that made me realize that people want professionalism with a heart in the healthcare field. Bedside manners do not just extend to the medical field or a life and death experience either. I went to the dentist for a simple dental exam and deep cleaning, but the hygienist’s attitude was so devoid of warmth that she greatly enhanced my already obvious nerves because she did not even try to reassure me that everything would be fine.
Her lack of just trying to alleviate any of my fears, even though she was quite skilled made me wary of going back to my dentist for fear of having her again. Imagine if a person with a serious medical condition comes into contact with a “cold” healthcare professional; it will be an even more awful experience. That situation made me re-examine my previous belief that ability was more crucial than bedside manners. They are now equally important to a patient’s recovery and health.
Professionalism among colleagues is still highly important, but only to create a soothing environment for the patient and a positive working atmosphere for the employees. If the professionals are happy within their job, their good attitude will extend through to their work, thus benefiting everyone involved. If it was common practice that hospitals made sure their staff knew the importance of informing and communicating with a patient to ensure their knowledge and comfort, there would be less people who were anxious about their procedures.
People are afraid of the unknown and if there was a person who educated the patient on what his and her rights were while in the hospital and could aid in answering questions the patient may have would make that position indispensable to the hospital and could probably decrease lawsuits also. Bedside manners, patient rights and communication are just as important as knowing how to treat an ailment. An experience can resonate within a person’s mind for years and we should know how to help turn a person’s potentially negative feelings into a positive one.