A Lesson in Assertiveness

By the end of our first appointment with the Neurosurgeon, he and his nurse rightly assumed that we would have plenty of questions later. The Nurse gave us her card, and even wrote on the front what she said was her personal number. She said once we got home, and had a chance to think of some questions we should call her back.

Over that weekend we spent most of our time scouring the internet. Again, the Hydrocephalus Association website was a great resource. We were able to get a lot of questions answered there, but it also brought up just as many new questions. Monday morning, two days pre-surgery, Kayleigh called and left a message asking the Nurse to call us back. We didn’t hear back from her. Hey, it’s Monday, maybe it’s her day off, or she’s very busy. On Tuesday, one day pre-surgery, Kayleigh called again, twice. We still didn’t get a callback.

We decided that most of our questions were things we didn’t really need to have answers to until after the surgery, so we stopped there. We decided this would be their one “get out of jail free”. We will let it go, this time. We then came up with our plan of action for the future. Kayleigh will be the point person when we need information from the neurosurgery team, and I will back her up whenever she needs me. If we have questions in the future, the Nurse will make time to answer them. We will call, we will call again, we will have her paged, and then we will find someone else in the neurosurgery department who does have the time to take a call.

Again, none of the questions we had were earth shattering, but it certainly doesn’t help build trust in the staff that we are working with when they fail to return our calls. We will be partners with the folks who will be caring for Declan’s well-being. We will bring our opinion to the table. We have no problem listening, and we have great respect for the many years that the doctors and nurses have put into being able to handle such delicate tasks, however, we will also be heard.

<Edit: I just wanted to take a moment to add that since this point we have had no problems reaching anyone, or getting answers to our questions. We have come to the conlusion that there may have been a problem with the phone system at this time. When Kayleigh has called back since then the voicemail box answered differently, and the phone tree leading up to the voicemail sounds a little different. There is a possibility that it was…umm…user error, but you can’t prove it! =) Either way, we stilled learned some good lessons from this experience. So, other than some potential problems on the technical side, the staff did nothing wrong on this one.>

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About Roland B

A dad learning to live.

Posted on May 28, 2011, in Declan's Diagnosis. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Yo Sister Foo

    As it should be. Miss Manners says that you need to remember that they are working for you. You are paying them to render a service, and it’s not rude or wrong to push them to render that service. In other words, you’re in the right. Keep calling, keep asking.

    If all else fails you could sic Declan’s crazy aunts on em’ teehee.

    • I do believe though that the key in Dr/patient relationship is partnership. Medicine isn’t a “the customer is always right” business. It does have to be a 2 way street. As parents we can’t go into a meeting being aggressive, because that would be counter productive. We need to go into a meeting with a clear idea of what we need, and we need to listen and receive the education they can provide.

      • Yo Sister Foo

        That’s true in all situations though. You are not going to get great treatment anywhere running rough shod over people. But 😉 the doctor is working for you. I think a lot of people see medicine as a place where they have no choice, no voice. They let their doctors herd them from one spot to another without question.

        That’s what I meant, lol. Don’t be a sheeple!

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