NShore Patient Advocates, LLC
150 S. Wacker, Ste 2400, Chicago, IL 60606
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The NSPA Blog

Patient (Dis)Satisfaction

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Posted on April 23rd, 2018 by Teri Dreher, under Clinical Trends, Patient Advocacy, Take Charge

Today I had an interesting experience becoming a new patient at a large orthopedic practice in Lake County. I’ll admit I usually don’t tell people I am a professional RN patient advocate when I first see them. I want to see how general population patients are treated and determine for myself if I would ever refer a client to them in the future. I want to see how patients feel in the first encounter at the office. NShore has a policy to only refer clients to doctors who are not only highly competent, but treat patients with kindness, compassion and care about them as human beings, making eye contact and connecting in an effort to build trust and confidence in one’s provider. The doctor patient relationship is very important. Multiple studies have shown how critical and unique the doctor patient relationship is to better medical outcomes. Doctors most often get sued because of poor communication and arrogance that may lead to actual medical error. Then they make things worse by being too proud to apologize when harm is done.

Clinical Encounters of the Unfortunate Kind

Today, from the first moment I entered the practice office, I was treated like a number, an object, as if I were a piece of candy on the famous I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel got a job in a candy factory and could not wrap each piece of candy fast enough…I remember laughing so hard I cried when I first saw it.(God bless Lucille Ball, she was a great comedienne.) Today in the doctor’s office it was not funny. I waited standing at the front dest for a full ten minutes before I was given the new client clipboard of information to fill out. No eye contact from both employees at the front desk who were paying attention to their computers, snapping at people who asked questions. Horrible customer service, which explains the poor Yelp reviews I saw on the website later. Patient after patient said, “Great doctors, horrible administrative staff.”

Doctors Know Best

Honestly, the doctor was not much better. I filled out five pages of paperwork and he never looked at most of it. He also did not see my occupation (owner of NShore Patient Advocates) or try to get to know me. Assembly line medicine indeed. He spent 2 and a half minutes examining me, sent me for X-rays which I told him I already had, and wanted to dismiss my mechanical knee flexion/extension issue as arthritis and send me on my way. No. I am a nurse, I know there is more to it than that because of my history and symptoms. I do not want to live the rest of my life with a knee that will not fully straighten and walk with a limp. So I talked him into an MRI and scheduled it before I left. I saw six people in that office and only one smiled at me or looked me directly in the eye. I felt sad when I left, not only for myself but for patients everywhere who get shuttled through the system as quickly as possible, with as much money extracted and as least time being spent as possible. It makes me mad and reaffirms that professional patient advocacy is here to stay for good reason. No patient should be treated like a piece of “stuff” on an assembly line.

With over 36 years of clinical experience in Critical Care nursing, home based health care and expertise as a cardiovascular nurse clinician, Teri is well acquainted with the complexities of the modern healthcare system. She has served as a nursing leader, mentor, educator, and consistent patient advocate throughout her career in some of the best hospitals across the country. Her passion to keep the patient at the center of the model of nursing care led her to incorporate NShore Patient Advocates, LLC in 2011, serving clients throughout the northern suburbs of Chicago.

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