Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Importance of "Why"

Yesterday I was informed, by someone on my school EMT squad, that I should focus less on "why the patient has symptoms" and more on "just getting their vital signs and getting rid of them. It's not our job to care about WHY they have them". At first, I was only mad because of the implication that I wasn't doing my job well.

And then I started thinking- I'm angry for a deeper reason. I CARE ABOUT "WHY"!!! (not to mention, my blood boils every time someone tells me something "isn't my job" or "isn't my place"- it's like saying "don't you worry your pretty little head about it. just take his blood pressure, and we'll do the rest")

"Why?" MATTERS. Ok, a 24 year old woman calls 911 for chest pain and "palpitations". You COULD just treat the chest pain per protocol with aspirin, take her BP, run the vitals, but it matters WHY her chest hurts! Maybe her boyfriend beats her up, and punched her in the chest! Maybe she has Marfan's Syndrome, and her aorta is tearing open! Maybe she just had a fight with her mother, and is having a panic attack! Maybe she has a congenital heart defect! The symptoms themselves are just that - SYMPTOMS. Of some underlying PROBLEM. If we content ourselves as health care providers with putting bandaids on the symptoms, we are doing a massive disservice, both to our own intelligence and to our patients.

Take back the "why"! Ask questions! Join the resistance!

4 comments:

Megan said...

Some people are just ignorant and are in healthcare for the paycheck. Then there are people like you and I who truly care about patient outcomes.

Christine said...

Maybe you ask why and they don't is because you are a Nursing Student and its our job to ask why and understand the why?

Its pretty hard to pop in and out of a mindset of critical thinking once you have it.

Anonymous said...

Cmon don't worry your pretty little head about it ;)

ED RN

little d, S.N. said...

it's people like you, ED RN, that make me throw bags of saline :-p