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Know Who Is Handling Nursing Care

Turning to the matter of the bedside registered nurse, the credentials, experience, and approach of this individual are central to the issues of quality and safety. In most cases, your nurse will conduct an intake interview as part of the admission process. Just as your nurse is assessing you as a patient, you should be assessing the nurse. Some of the information you need you can glean from the initial interview, because your nurse is required to give you a complete explanation of the hospital routine. Subsequently, the nurse will usually end with asking, "Do you have any questions?" This is your opportunity to turn the nurse-patient relationship into a team effort and take control of your well-being by making the following queries:

  • How long have you been a nurse?
  • How many times before have you performed the procedures that the doctor ordered?
  • Can you explain what each of my medications is for and what possible side effects we have to watch out for?
  • What would you do if one of the residents or interns writes an order that you think is contraindicated or might not be in my best interest?
  • What precautions should we take to make certain that I don't fall and hurt myself?
  • What precautions should we take to make certain that I don't get any bedsores?

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