I’ve written a great deal about being an empowered patient in different situations and now I have the pleasure of writing about my time in the hospital and being the empowered patient I am.

Being an empowered in a hospital brings some new challenges to the patient. If you haven’t stepped up to the plate for your Doctor or his or her medical team then stepping up in the hospital is truly something to work on. See, stepping up at the Doctor’s office is one thing since you are dealing with people you already know. Once in the hospital it’s all about strangers.

My goal in this post is to give you some helpful hints to consider when a patient is in a hospital. Now I don’t guarantee these helpful ideas will work for every one or in every hospital but they should help.

    1. When being admitted don’t get too into the empowered patient thing.  It kinds of freaks them out if you start talking like that at admittance as I found out the hard way.
    2. Once in your room and after meeting your nurses and nurse’s aides, figure out how to chat with them about your concerns and whom to chat with about them. I usually ask for the head nurse first and see how things go. If I find them to be a little too uptight I refer to my nurse of the day and talk to her.
    3. I also give the nurse’s aides a great deal of attention and talk with them about being an empowered patient and how to handle things in the hospital. They have an inside track which you want to know about. I have even found the aides can help with letting me know what’s really on the computers that we aren’t allowed to see.
    4. The toughest one to crack of course is the hospital Doctor on staff. They are not your enemy, but they come across that way as soon as you mention empowered patient or anything in the context. I happened to mention that I enjoy being part of the team taking care of me and the Doctor asked me if I had a medical degree? I gave him the answer I felt best. I’ll give you that answer later.
    5. My tip for cracking the Doctor is to first talk to the nurses aides  to get a handle on the Doctors attitude. Then, if you have a good rapport with your nurse or the head nurse talk to them how you should approach your Doctor on staff. IF none of this works then you need to crack the Doctor.
    6. My answer to #4  for the Doctor was no I don’t have a degree, but I should after all I have lived with. I also explained to him that my Internist on the street is very comfortable with me and if they question my involvement they should contact my regular Doctor.
    7. If you are getting nowhere with the Doctor then really put a great deal of time speaking with the nurses to get the information you require. If you hear from them things you are not happy about with the on-staff Doctor, have them contact your regular Doctor and get them to intervene. If they don’t call, have your family call.
    8. Most important tip I can give you: Do not at any point give up your rights as an empowered patient. If it comes to the hospital shutting you down you need to get your personal Doctor involved quickly and work with them. The hospital cannot deny you that right nor can the medical team.

In the end it’s your right to be involved. It’s your right to understand and know why they are prescribing what they are prescribing. For an example, the last time I was in the hospital the on-staff Doctor decided to take me off one of my heart meds without even seeing me. I couldn’t believe my ears when the nurse told me that. I contacted my Doctor who called the staff Doctor and basically drilled them a new….., you know what. I was ready to check out of the hospital at that point till I talked with my own Doctor who told me to calm down and he would be in later. He was and all was settled. I was added to the medical team as an empowered patient.

It’s all up to you to speak up. If you don’t, things will not go your way and you won’t be happy. You don’t have to be mean to get your way but you may need to be resourceful. It takes time and talking. It takes explanations and more explanations but you can’t give up. It’s your right so don’t give it up.

Be Well and Stay Empowered!

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Mark-John Clifford

Owner/Writer at Health in the Laugh Lane
Health activist, speaker, writer, husband and father. Co-Founder of the blog Health in the Laugh Lane, Member Patient Advisory Board at Intake.me.
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