"The best and the worst communication from nurses"

About: The Royal Victoria Infirmary / Neurology

(as the patient),

When a patient attends hospital they are likely to be apprehensive. Human compassion for, and courtesy towards, other human beings should not be too much to hope for.

I recently attended my local hospital for a lumbar puncture. On arrival outside the ward, and feeling anxious, I buzzed for entry as directed and heard "push the door", spoken very abruptly. When I reached the nurses' desk I found a staff nurse with her head down, writing notes, who did not look up or speak, although it was obvious that I was there. I assumed that it was the same nurse who had opened the door, since she was sitting beside the entry button. As I waited in front of her with no acknowledgement of my presence, wondering how long to wait before having to interrupt her, an administrator arrived and directed me to a waiting area. I found myself wondering if the nurse had ever heard of the current 6 'c's nursing initiative, several of which were not in evidence (Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage, Commitment).

Shortly afterwards things improved with the arrival of the nurse who was to remain with me: Gwen was cheerful, reassuring and professional - everything her colleague was not. The procedure was duly completed, with the nurse and doctor involved both demonstrating professional skill and understanding. Unfortunately, first impressions are very powerful and I would hate to have been in the 'care' of the person on the desk, too busy to look up for even a moment to offer any courtesy or welcome to a patient. It would not have taken more than a few seconds and would have made such a difference.

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Response from The Royal Victoria Infirmary

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments on our services using the NHS choices website. We would wish to apologise for the poor experience you had when you initially arrived on the ward for your procedure, we would also like to apologise for the delay in responding to your review - unfortunately due to technical issues we have only recently been alerted to your posting. The member of staff should have acknowledged your arrival and introduced themselves and we are saddened to learn that this did not occur on this occasion. Your comments have been shared with the whole department together with a reminder of the 6C’s and the “Hello my name is…” initiative, which encourages all staff to introduce themselves. We would also wish to thank you for the positive comments regarding the clinical care you received, while acknowledging that the overall care delivered fell short of what we expect and also the importance of first contact with patients. We take all feedback very seriously and will ensure that we all learn from your comments.

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