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I Fired My Nurse

Posted Oct 06 2008 11:46am

It’s important when facing a chronic or life-threatening illness that we maintain some level of control over our lives.  Being at the mercy of others isn’t good for the psyche.  Unfortunately some members of the medical community feel that they are always in control and we should act like marionettes.  The truth is that the medical community is in our employment…they work for us.  Here’s what happened.

I have lab work done on a quarterly basis.  My appointment was on Friday so I went to the lab on Tuesday and to my dismay there was no order from the doctor.  Tuesday afternoon I got a call from the nurse telling me that the order was placed and I needed to go since my appointment was Friday.  I shared that I had a already taken my morning to visit the lab and left because the order didn’t exist.  She kept telling me that it was my responsibility to get the lab work done before my appointment.  When I said I didn’t know if that would be possible, she told me the doctor wouldn’t refill my prescription before he had the lab results meaning I would run out of medication.  I was mad…very mad.

I went for my appointment on Friday and had a great visit with the doctor.  We talked about new tests I’d read about to determine how I metabolize medication; different treatment options and reviewed the labs that I was able to squeeze in.  He asked if I had any other questions and told him I had some concerns about how the office was run.

First I asked what happened to the nurse I’d been working with for six years.  He told me she had been promoted (that made me happy).   I told him I felt the new nurse was rude, argumentative and judgmental.  When I told him that the usual standing for lab orders didn’t exist he said to me, “We’ve talked to her about this and I guess we’ll have to talk to her again”.  For me the story has a happy ending.  I told the doctor that I didn’t want this nurse ever calling me or having anything to do with my healthcare.  He is willing to have the former nurse, now supervisor, be my contact person with the office.  I very grateful that he could hear my concerns without being defensive.  He looked for solutions that would make his office run smoother and offer me, the patient, great care.

We have rights as patients and one of those rights is to be treated with respect.  We are the CEO of our health and that comes with some responsibility.  It means that when we’re not getting what we want we have to be assertive and let the medical community know where the gaps in service exist.  I don’t want to struggle through my healthcare system, I want to devote all my time and attention on my journey to wellness.

Ever have a similar situation?  Please share so that we can build up a fountain of strength for those who need to take the plunge and assert themselves with their healthcare team.  It can mean the difference between life and death.

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