“What’s your name?”
It may seem like the simplest question that can be asked in a hospital.
In an emergency department seeing hundreds patients a day, it’s vital to the care Kelly Blackmore provides.
Kelly is a registered nurse in GRH’s emergency department. She has 12 years of care experience in all aspects of the program.
Kelly believes patients and families have the right and responsibility to ask as many questions as they want to ensure they’re receiving appropriate care.
She’s also passionate about opening the discussion when someone may be less inclined to ask questions. She does that by freely sharing information with her patients and families.
Why is “what’s your name” such an important question?
In a place where we care for approximately 200 patients a day and patients are moved from room to room, we need to make sure we have the correct patient so that they’re receiving the right medical intervention.
We have posters throughout the department that tell people we are going to ask the same questions over and over again such as their name and their birthdate, and it’s for their own safety.
What’s the most important question that a patient or a family member can ask you?
Who I am, what my role is and the reason for the intervention I intend to perform on them or their loved one.
Do patients ask different questions now than when you first started as a nurse?
There are some patients who are more willing, and wanting to be more educated about their health care.
There are some patients who are accustomed to doing what they’re told by the nurse or doctor. It may be something that they grew up with… the doctor knows best, the nurse knows best, you don’t question, you just do.
How do you encourage a patient to ask questions if it doesn’t come naturally to them?
I’ll encourage them to ask. I’ll help the process along by explaining to them each intervention and why I’m doing it, and why the doctor ordered that. We do our absolute best to answer patients’ questions because it’s important for safety.
Why do you think it’s so important for people to ask questions about their health more often?
There are still some people who come to the hospital who don’t know why they’re on certain medications, or don’t know why they’re having a test when they’re here in emergency.
I’d like the public to understand that it’s their body and their health care. Nurses and doctors are people who have learned a skill. Much like if you were to hire a skilled trades-person to come into your house to renovate something, you’d still want to be part of that process. Likewise with your health, you need to be invested in the process and decision making.
It's important for patients to ask questions so they can learn about what's happening. If people are educated about their medical condition, they are better equipped to safely manage their own care and their own medications outside of the hospital.