Navigating the healthcare system can be frustrating and frightening if you do not understand the system. I feel that way about the legal system. No matter how well educated you are, the language and the process related to utilizing these systems can be over whelming. No one wants to be a consumer of these systems unless it is absolutely necessary.
Eventually all of us will use them. Navigating the healthcare system is also a complex process. It is in your best interest to educate yourself about your illness and or condition, to ensure your health care needs are being met. Some families have the luxury of having a healthcare professional in the family to help them navigate, if not it can be very stressful. If you do not understand, ask plenty of questions.
Patients share pertinent information with nurses, and do not always share their concerns with their physician. Many times patients will ask the nurse their opinion regarding information conveyed by their provider. If it requires a simple explanation it is shared, but usually patients want an opinion about the necessity of the procedure. I encourage them to get a second opinion if they have doubts.
Although physicians and nurses work as a team, it is imperative that patients express their concerns to their doctor. It is important to have robust discussions related to their care and treatment, because this promotes confidence for the patient and the family.
Nurses are patient advocates and we consider this an essential role. We want to ensure the healthcare team meets the needs and wishes of the patient, even if those goals do not align with the family wishes. However if the patient is not fully awake and alert, family input is solicited and essential.
Patients and families can always report their concerns to the nursing supervisor/manager and or the facility patient advocate. They are there to help patient’s navigate through the system, and minimize their stress.
Make good choices, so you can stay healthy and well. After all, once your health has failed it will be challenging to return to a normal state of wellness.
Just keeping you informed!