A Powerful Lesson

As a Charity Hospital School of Nursing student, I rotated through the patient “clinics” that were located near the ER. The patients had no scheduled appointments, so when they arrived, they would line up by sitting in benches located next to the clinic offices. Our first patient of the morning was a petite, elderly man that still wore a felt hat that was popular in the thirties and forties. He reported joint pain and so the physician instructed him to go to orthopedics for further care. The day wore on and as the clinic hours drew to a close, this patient reappeared on the bench waiting his turn to see us again. When he entered the room the doctor asked him why he came back to the medical clinic. His answer… “I have looked all over for Mr. Pedics and I can’t find him anywhere.” To my horror, I realized he had spent his entire day searching for Arthur Pedics! While I have since chuckled about this, at that moment I felt that we had failed this patient. Most of these patients had to get up at the crack of dawn to take the bus to get to Charity and then spend most of their day waiting around until they were seen. In addition, this patient was in pain, and due to the fact that we had not ensured his understanding of our instructions, he spent the whole day roaming the hospital. The good thing about this story, I learned as a young nurse to make sure that my patient understood my instructions.

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