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Friday, October 18, 2013

You'd think we RTs would get used to this

What do you guys say when you go into a room knowing the patient does not need a breathing treatment, right after, "Hi, my name is...."?

1.  I have a breathing treatment for you.
2.  The doctor thinks you're short of breath
3.  Well, I know you're not short of breath, but...
4.  The doctor ordered this for you.
5.  Are you short of breath?
6.  Have you ever been short of breath?

You'd think we RTs would be pretty good at this, but it never gets better; it never gets easy.  It never gets easy to give a patient something you think (know) isn't needed.  I feel if I tell them it's needed I'm lying.

 I could say, "The doctor thinks you need it."  I could say that.  But I don't.  It just opens a bunch of doors.  For example, the patient might say: "You mean, you don't."

Then you're backed into a corner:  "No, I think it's a waste of time."

The problem is, the patient might already have been convinced she needs it.  I'd be rich if I had a dime for every time I heard this: "The doctor says I need it, I must need it."

Of course then you get into the definition of need.  Will you die if you don't get it?  Is it like food? Is it like Insulin to a diabetic?  No.  If a person who has no bronchospasm doesn't get Ventolin, he will eventually, as most of our patients do, get better and be discharged.   


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