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Jane Bates: I’m just a girl who can’t say no...or yes

Jane Bates struggles to stick to the point when taking part in a health questionnaire. 
Yes_or_No_02-iStock.jpg

Jane Bates struggles to stick to the point when taking part in a health questionnaire

Im just a girl who caint say no, sang Ado Annie in the musical Oklahoma.

Well, Im just a girl who caint say yes or no, I discovered, when taking part in a health questionnaire. These are yes or no answers, said the person grilling me, pointedly.

I ask patients for yes or no answers all the time, sometimes screaming the words in my head as they go off on tangent after tangent. But sometimes sticking to a simple yes or no seems impossible.

Not so easy

My interrogator was patient, posing questions such as: Have you consulted your GP in the last two years? I defy anyone to give an answer of

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Jane Bates struggles to stick to the point when taking part in a health questionnaire 


In clinical practice, answering yes or no isn’t always straightforward. Picture: iStock

‘I’m just a girl who cain’t say no,’ sang Ado Annie in the musical Oklahoma. 

Well, I’m just a girl who cain’t say yes or no, I discovered, when taking part in a health questionnaire. ‘These are yes or no answers,’ said the person grilling me, pointedly. 

I ask patients for ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers all the time, sometimes screaming the words in my head as they go off on tangent after tangent. But sometimes sticking to a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ seems impossible.

Not so easy

My interrogator was patient, posing questions such as: ‘Have you consulted your GP in the last two years?’ I defy anyone to give an answer of one syllable. ‘I can’t think of anyone my age who hasn’t seen their doctor in two years, apart from a few males of my generation who are in denial about getting on a bit,’ I reminded him. 

That was just the start. ‘Are you on any medication?’ invited me to over-think, and want it broken down to repeat prescriptions or drugs taken Pro Re Nata, as we say in the business. ‘So is that a yes?’ He asked politely.  

I take my hat off to him. His bonhomie was unerring, his patience drawn from a bottomless pit. No evidence of teeth grinding, or that he was playing Candy Crush while I rambled on. And it was a timely reminder to me that in clinical practice, ‘yes’ or ‘no’ just can’t happen. 


About the author 

Jane Bates

 

 

 

Jane Bates is an ophthalmic nurse in Hampshire 
 

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