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Saturday, June 18, 2011

How to wake up a patient

One of the first thing a night shift RT must learn to do is wake up a patient. Here's some tips I've compiles:

1. Put your hand on the patient's shoulder and then say, "Hey! Mr. Smith, it's time for your treatment." That way if the patient wakes up startled and has this natural inclination to throw a punch, he has a direct target to your face.

I wouldn't recommend this method. But believe me that even though it is rare for someone to wake up defensively, I've seen it

Trust me, I've seen patients literally jump out of their skin.

2 Walk into the room, prepare the breathing treatment, connect the medicine cup to a mask, and put the mask on the patient hoping he doesn't wake up. Yet if he does wake up your face will still be in the direct line of his fist.

Once again, I don't recommend this method either.

3. Walk into room, turn on all the lights so it's as bright as can be, and then shout: MR! SMITH, IT'S TIME FOR YOUR 2 A.M. TREATMENT!!"

Okay, unless your patient is obtunded and you're being facetious, this route wouldn't bode well for making a friend or keeping one for that matter.

4. Walk into the room tap the patient on the shoulder and say, "Mr. Smith, it's time for your treatment."

This one is a step in the right direction, yet here you risk startling the patient. I've had patients jump out of their skin with this method.

5. Knock on the door, if the patient still doesn't wake up, lightly say something like, "Hello." And see what happens. If the patient still does not wake up, gently tap them on the shoulder while whispering their name. Yet make sure you back away just in case he does jump out of his skin.

Personally, I find this to be the best method. You also might want to turn on the bathroom light if you need light, yet never the overhead light. I'm sure you wouldn't want a bright light turned on after you've been sleeping.

6.  Turn on the bright light over the patient and say, "Time to get up!"  This method might actually work, yet not without annoying your patient, and forcing him to take cover over his eyes.



emt.dan said...

Sorry for the dense question, but why are you waking asymptomatic patients in the middle of the night for treatments?

Rick Frea said...

Not a dense question at all. I agree with you it's frivolous. Quite often I refuse for the patient.