*This post was inspired by a fellow student’s blog, Luke. Read it, it’s quite good!*
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
I don’t consider myself a classical literature enthusiast, but this quote really strikes a cord. Juliet is telling Romeo that regardless of his name, it is the person behind it that she loves. He is more than his name, an identity that has been given to him but does not define him as a person. But despite what Juliet may think, you can gain a significant amount of information from a name.
Hello, my name is Nur Milenkovic. I’m a student nurse.
When I introduce myself to my patients and their families, they gather several tidbits of information about me, and some assumptions.
- I have an Americanized accent (this prompts a guessing game of where are you from?)
- I am a student nurse
- I am a foreigner
- If they speak Arabic, they know half of my heritage (“Do you know what Nur means?”)
- If they have heard of Balkan last names, they know the other half.
- Depending on intonation and body language, they know my current mood
- They know how to call for me, and make me take responsibility for my actions.
That’s quite a lot from just saying hello.
Recently, there has been a flurry of activity in relation to Hello My Name Is…, which was set up by Kate Granger in a successful campaign designed to improve the communication between healthcare staff and the patients that they care for.
I’m a doctor, but also a terminally ill cancer patient. During a hospital stay in August 2013 with post-operative sepsis, I made the stark observation that many staff looking after me did not introduce themselves before delivering my care. It felt incredibly wrong that such a basic step in communication was missing. After ranting at my husband during one evening visiting time he encouraged me to “stop whinging and do something!” Kate Granger, hellomynameis.org.uk
Communication is one of the 6Cs of nursing, yet is often forgotten in the flurry of activity that occurs in a care setting. How can you deliver person-centered care if you do not even take the time to build that therapeutic relationship? Throughout the first year of my course, we were told again and again that is was important it was to introduce yourself when you first meet your patients. It all seemed like common sense at the time, but it wasn’t until I was on my first ward experience that I understood why it was drilled into us from day one: people coming and going, busy staff, and organised chaos. The staff simply forget (I’ve done it too, over the phone when talking to the parent of a patient… “Hello, is this so-and-s0’s Mum? You asked me to ring you when your son woke up.” Oops).
Patients would wander down the hallway, with a bit of a confused look on their face. When I go up to them and ask if they need anything, they said they are looking for their nurse, the one with brown hair in a bun – that could be anyone. The extra time it would take to find the nurse could have been avoided if they been told clearly who their nurse was first thing in the morning. They wouldn’t have been waiting for an additional 10-15 minutes, which can be a very long time for a parent with a screaming child.
Wait, but what are the 6Cs of nursing, I imagine hearing non-nurses ask. Well, here they are: Compassion, competence, commitment, communication, care, and courage. I will let you figure out why each is vital in a nursing profession, but I will tell you that you need all six to provide holistic care to a patient.
I firmly believe it is not just about common courtesy, but it runs much deeper. Introductions are about making a human connection between one human being who is suffering and vulnerable, and another human being who wishes to help. They begin therapeutic relationships and can instantly build trust in difficult circumstances. In my mind #hellomynameis is the first rung on the ladder to providing truly person-centred, compassionate care. – Kate Granger, hellomynameis.org.uk
The activity that has been occurring on various social media in relation to #Hellomynameis (Twitter especially) has revolved predominantly around being able to introduce yourself to patients who may be hard of hearing/deaf. So in honour of that, I thought I would help those of you who may not have see it yet, and add a few additional ones (because, why not?)
*The following signs are all right handed, and performed in order from left to right
Hello, My name is…
I’m a nurse (I couldn’t figure out student nurse)
How are you?
You may need to look up the responses here, otherwise you won’t know how they actually feel!
Although patients who require me to adjustment the way I introduce myself may not get quite as much information about me from my introduction as those who are able to hear, they will at least know who and what I am (and that I need to learn BSL properly).
So who am I? (Spiderman reference, anyone?)
Hello, my name is Nur Milenkovic. I am a student nurse.