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Friday, January 27, 2012

How to introduce yourself to a patient?

Your humble question:  What is the best way to introduce yourself to a patient and to identify the patient without breaking confidentiality rules?

My humble answer:  There really is no rule how to introduce yourself.  However, due to confidentiality laws (like HIPPA) I find it's best never to say the name of the patient.  My technique is to get the patient to say his or her name so I don't have to.  I usually do the following:
  1. I pick up the written (printed) order and take it with me to the room
  2. I always introduce myself as I enter the room:  "Hi, I'm Rick from respiratory therapy."
  3. Then I say something like, "Will you please say your last name?" 
  4. I confirm the last name with the order and I say the first name of the patient.  Or, if I'm in a humorous mood, I'll say something like, "Yeah, you're right?"  Or I say something like, "Yep, you're the right patient."  You can get creative once you know you have the right patient.
  5. Or... if the patient is unable to communicate you can always check the wrist band, or follow the above procedure with the family member or guardian.
Obviously there's more than one best way to introduce yourself to the patient.  As with anything, every person has his own best practice.


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