Never liked hospitals and never will. Who likes hospitals anyway?
Yesterday, I met with an accident on the way to work and had to go to a hospital to get a check-up. I took a knock on my lower back. For most of us, hospitals are synonymous with dreadfulness. I hate it. Now, since that is how hospitals make the most of us feel, I thought addressing this might shed some light on why we feel that way, and what can hospitals do about it? I’m going to tell you’ll the events as they happened.
Firstly, shocked out of my wits because of the accident, my colleague, his mother who is also my colleague (Yes, I work in quite an amusing place) and I entered the doors of the hospital. We entered a room filled with people scattered across the floor. The commotion in the hospital lobby did not help our already confused case. We looked lost not knowing whom to approach. My colleague caught sight of a lady with an ID card walking across the lobby. We approached her and told her the issue, she directed us to a nurse who would then tell what our next course of actions should be. The nurse listened to our problem and gave us a very puzzling reply: “Here is what you can do, if you think your pain is unsustainably bad and needs immediate attention, please go to the ER, if not, you can go to the waiting room, and that might take a long time. If you go to the ER, you can be in and out soon”. We heeded her advice and started our walk to the ER.
In the ER we met a nurse to whom we explained the whole situation. We were directed to two separate beds adjacent to each other and two different doctors were assigned to us. I lay on the bed hoping everything will be alright for the two of us and this ordeal ends soon. We had a minor accident; we were on a bike and car crossed us on a four-way intersection. Luckily, both the vehicles were slow, and hence the impact was considerably low, thanks to the quick response from the rider who braked at about the right time.
So, there I was on the bed, wondering why I’m panicking so much, what’s the reason for me being so alarmed. It dawned on me, the incessant beeping of the monitors, the moaning from the suffering patients in the adjacent beds, the cacophony of nurses and doctors communicating and giving instructions, the sound of the rolling cots and the automatic doors all of this contributed massively to my agitation.
I was assigned a doctor who did her first bit of checkup and told me I would be okay. I was happy to hear that, but my happiness didn’t last for very long. A nurse came with a syringe which had some muscle relaxants and poked me on my shoulder. At this point, I got concerned, partly because a stranger (he didn’t accompany the Doctor during the initial round of check-up and was a new face to me) was poking me with a syringe and partly because I didn’t know why I was being poked if I was okay. I got anxious and asked for the doctor and an explanation. The doctor gave me an explanation which calmed my nerves again.
I began to think how the smallest of details could matter and make the experience better in a hospital. Here are some things that I observed:
1. A person entering a hospital is already anxious and needs a warm, comforting welcome and a person who can give them the answers they want to hear
2. Hospitals have a particular kind of smell which may be from the disinfectants used on the floor or the medicines in general. In all honesty, nobody likes this smell and finding a way to make a hospital not smell like one would be great
3. Having separate rooms in the ER rather than having beds which are separated by just curtains. Nobody wants to aggravate their anxiety by looking at other suffering patients nor does anybody like the commotion caused due to people and objects being moved around
4. When a patient is being attended to, the doctor’s body language plays a vital role. A doctor that talks their way throughout the procedure not leaving you in the dark and keeping you guessing what the hell is going on will help the patient calm his nerves. In case the doctor has a team of nurses that will be helping him around with the procedures, it would help if each nurse introduced themselves and explained what is being done and why. It will help instill confidence in the patient because he knows the Doctors and nurses know what they’re doing
5. The beeping of monitors can be nerve-wracking sometimes, especially so when you are in a state of panic. I do not know how this can be addressed but addressing this would help
Overall, nobody likes going to the hospital, but at times it can’t be avoided. The experience at a hospital is never something one looks forward to. The pain and the suffering around is enough to make a person dread that place. Some minor details that I pointed out can help make the experience a little more pleasant. You feel alienated and confused, hospitality is seldom felt in a hospital. Maybe this is something that hospital management should ponder over?
I certainly haven’t covered all of the points, and I am open to others views on this topic.