Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Of roles and expectations

I've just finished listening to another excellent episode of Pseudopod, a weekly podcast of horror short stories and this week's was particularly interesting for me. It focuses on a woman who comes to a village under the guise of helping when in fact she has a darker motive.

Alasdair, the host of the podcast, does a wonderful job (as always) of deconstructing the themes of the story. For anyone in healthcare they are juxtaposed between being an everyday part of the job and so very important that if you stop and think about it, our responsibilities are staggering.

The patient will see you as a caraciture
People put their lives in our hands and, more often than not, accept that whatever we do for them or ask them to do is in their best interests. When I push the drug trolley around people accept that because I am dressed like a nurse, seem quite comfortable and friendly, I must be giving them the right medication at the right time etc. etc.

Every nurse I know has made at least one drug error.

Every doctor I know has made at least one drug error/ misdiagnosis.

And yet they come to us. Because we look the part, because they believe in us, our uniforms, our stethescopes, our strange language. There is another component, I think. We have entered into a social contract. We have chosed our roles and promised to fulfull them to the best of our abilites. That, I would argue, is the reason people come to us.

It is both a privilege and a responsibility.

1 comment:

  1. Funny.
    Really, do nurses and doctors make med errors?

    If the general public knew how often errors really happened they would be scared.