Clinical placements

Hello my name is Emily: how a simple introduction can transform care

I was very nervous. It was my first day of placement on a general adult ward in my first year of training as an adult nurse.

I was very nervous. It was my first day of placement on a general adult ward in my first year of training as an adult nurse.

After the handover, I walked out into the bay I’d been allocated, ready to start the day, and found a patient who was looking very uncomfortable.

Remembering the importance of introductions from staff in healthcare settings, I walked over and introduced myself to him: ‘Hello my name is Emily, are you okay?’

A simple sentence and easily said. But this common courtesy can mean so much.

The #hellomynameis Twitter campaign had been discussed in my lectures and there were posters around the hospital which served to remind everyone.

The campaign was developed by Kate Granger, a doctor who was diagnosed with terminal cancer who observed many of the staff members who looked after her did not introduce themselves.

My patient seemed to appreciate my introduction and asked me if I could help him to the toilet.

I wondered why he had not used his buzzer or called someone over, but he explained he didn’t want to be a ‘bother’ to the staff.

This perception of being a burden is all too common for some of our patients. His needs were not a bother at all and he and I took a walk to the toilet.

My patient had a urinary tract infection, so I could empathise with the discomfort he was in, but I was surprised he had been suffering in silence.

He was extremely grateful for the help and as I waited outside the loo to accompany him back to his bed, we continued talking.

I told him that it was my first day and learned more about him and his situation.

These moments offered a good opportunity to develop a therapeutic relationship with my patient, understand his needs and gain his trust.

Following his discharge from the ward, a huge bunch of flowers were delivered along with a note thanking me by name for the wonderful care he had received.

The flowers were displayed on the nurse’s station where they reminded me of the importance of starting the patient-nurse relationship on the right foot. I am now a third-year nursing student, but to this day I remember that encounter with a patient.

The #hellomynameis campaign highlights how the importance of communicating with patients and their relatives can be easily forgotten.

My own simple experience is evidence of the significance and impact of Dr Granger’s campaign.

I urge all staff to be vigilant and ensure they introduce themselves, as it is all too easy to become complacent.

I cannot help but think what would have happened if I did not go up to this man and introduce myself. I doubt he would have had the same experience of care. Since that time, I have never underestimated the importance and power of good quality introductions to patients from healthcare professionals.

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