Sunday, September 19, 2010

Customer Care

As you know by now, I am on a daily shot of Neupogen to help raise my white blood count. I have to take the shot even when my doctor's office is closed. They made arrangements for me to go to North Kansas City Hospital to receive my shot.

When they first started giving me this shot, I did what anyone else would do...I googled it. There were many post out there talking about how painful this shot is to get, it burns significantly. I have never experienced this because my doctors office give the shot SLOWLY! I am not kidding that it takes them approximately 10 minutes to give me the shot.

So, going some other place to get the shot has been a little anxiety raising. Will they give it the same? Will it burn? Will it be painful?

My good friend Jackie has taught me it is okay to speak up about my medical expectations, so I really thought I was doing good to have a pre-conversation with the nurse today (who was different than yesterday). Before she even started, I say to her, I understand this shot is painful if not given slowly, do you plan to push it in slowly. She responds back to me with a Well Yes (almost as if how dare I think she would do anything else)!

I am not kidding you, the shot took less than 1 minute to get and it burned like hell! In the middle of the experience she actually said to me, "I am sorry, there is not much else I can do."  Having this new assertive voice, I said back to her, "well, actually there is, because I can assure you it never hurts like this at my doctors office." She proceeds to finish up, my arm burning the entire time, and I tell her on my way out one last time, that if she has never heard from another patient, but slowing down with this injection makes ALL the difference to the patient.

All the way home I kept thinking, SERIOUSLY! I am a paying customer and did not deserve to be treated that way. There was no other person waiting for her time/attention. My doctor's office juggles 10+ patients with 2 nurses and 1 medical assistant and they take the time to provide quality care to their patients and this lady who had 1 patient to care for, could not take 15 minutes of her time to slow down and provide that?!?!?!

It is easy for me, and it will be easy for you, to criticize the care this one nurse gave. But I want us to think bigger than her. Those of us who work with the public have a lesson to learn here. Why did you go into the career you are in? I went into social work to help people. I knew going into it that I would encounter people in their worst moments and offer to help them. I did not become a social worker to judge, criticize, or to make fun of them. I know after 19 years of working in the field, I have my jaded moments. But, is it not my duty to put that aside and approach each new client as dreamy-eyed as I did when I started?

Why did this woman become a nurse? I can only assume it was to help patients who needed medical attention. When did she become so interested in pushing clients along so she could catch up on paperwork that she compromised their care? When was the last time you compromised someone else to serve yourself?

I know by now it sounds like I am harping on this issue. I will stop. But in the end, this is what I have learned. It is more than okay to put your medical needs out there. It is okay to voice your frustration when those needs are not being met. And please, remember why you started your career and remember to put those clients before your own needs, whatever those maybe.


  1. Pam, again I'm really sorry this happened to you. NOT the way you wanted to start your sunday I imagine. I was thinking about this and I think you should ask the nurses in your dr's office why they give that Neupogen shot so slowly. I imagine they will tell you what you already know ... b/c it hurts less for the patient. Than I'd tell them what happened to you today. See what they offer up. I can almost be certain that a phone call or email will be generated about it. And the best thing that can happen is a little education about the matter to the that other office. As for you, don't be afraid to be active in your care (which are aren't and I applaud you). Ask questions and be assertive about your needs. If administering a shot over 10-15 mins is more comfortable it is a very reasonable request. No matter if you have to go to the same office or not, ask your nurse if she is willing to administer the shot over 10-15 mins. If she isn't willing to, request another nurse that is. Of course be your pleasant self :) I hope your week goes better than this morning! love ya-jackie

  2. Even though I am in a different type of customer care. I have to say that I take each customer as they come. Everyone is different and everyone reacts differently. You must be willing to be flexable to the persons needs, whether it is a nurse, waitress, clerk, call center, or doctor. I think medical care is most important because you don't feel well and are very apprehesive anyway.

  3. Ladies, Thank you! I timed the student medical assistant in my doctor's office today and it took her nearly 8 minutes to give me that shot. So, after my doctor I did call the supervisor of the nurse and discussed my experience with her. I feel better, the hospital is going to call the Doctor's office and obtain instruction on how to properly give the shot. So, hopefully, no other patient will have to suffer.

  4. I have to say I completely agree with what these girls said. Continue to be an active participant in your care. You are the patient, and you have rights!! Keep asking questions and don't be afraid to make requests!! A GOOD nurse will listen and not make you feel like you are "out of line." I'm so glad you visited with the supervisor. Be confident and feel good about yourself because you made a difference, and other patients will benefit from your insights. How ironic is this, I had to give a Neupogen shot today. (Tell you the story later--believe it or not it's funny.)

    I know I keep repeating this, but I can't say it enough. You are truely amazing!! You are unselfish, brave, and wise. You continue to inspire me!!

  5. Way to go! You are so wonderful to think beyond yourself to all who may share your experience and do what's best for them--not to mention the reminder you share with all of us! I'm so proud of you for every moment you push through to get to end of this chapter. You are an inspiration and I'm so privileged to have you as my friend! Sending hugs and lots of patience for you and the nurses who push your Neupogen! Talk to you soon! Love ya!