In entering the clinic, patients are greeted by the

  In this essay, I
shall present my opinions of the setting and discuss what I understood about
the patient’s experience.

 

Impressions of the setting

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             Upon
entering the clinic, patients are greeted by the receptionist who alerts the
physiologist of their presence and answers any initial questions the patient
may have.

Due to the confined nature of the waiting area in this
clinic, I was able to notice how patients responded to the environment,
involving the patient’s surroundings and the members of staff, and focus on how
this affected patient’s emotions.

 

              Staff in the clinic adhered to confidentiality
guidelines. This was evident by how staff conducted themselves when handling
and discussing patient data in the waiting area, such as when the receptionist informed
the physiologist of patient data obtained from the online database. Patient
sensitive data discussed was limited to patient names, D.O.B, height and
weight. It is necessary to confirm the patient’s name and D.O.B in the waiting
area to reaffirm the test is being performed on the correct patient. Height and
weight values are recorded for every patient prior to their appointment. The
machines which measure these values is located in the waiting area for
convenience, and recorded values were discretely told to patients if asked.
Contraindications and other information was otherwise discussed inside test
rooms, ensuring patient privacy was respected.

 

             Patients in the waiting area had
access to amenities such as a toilet and refreshments, however due to
interference from the ICU there was no phone network and no telephones patients
may use. Refreshments were provided by the café, located outside but some
patients were hesitant in going, especially if the delay was due to waiting
times.

 

            Most
rooms in the outpatient were wheelchair-accessible, including the toilet which
also had support rails and an emergency cord. Other facilities to aid disabled
patients included a zimmer-frame available on request. However, the passage leading
up to the toilet was partially obstructed by boxes, which were a safety concern.
These boxes were promptly removed by the team.  

 

The patient’s
experience

 

            Patients
receive an initial letter followed by a reminder closer to the appointment, detailing
the date, time and location. However, letters do not detail what the tests will
involve and the duration, causing some confusion and anxiety. Some patients
seemed anxious about not knowing enough about the tests, however staff were
always on hand to answer any questions. I noticed some patients were uncertain
with who to question due to the different uniforms/roles in the clinic. One of
the benefits of having a smaller waiting area is that there was more
patient-practitioner interaction and fewer uniforms attributing to a less
intimidating environment.

 

            Some
patients were not confident enough to ask a practitioner, for fear of wasting
their time, so chose to ask other patients sitting near them. However, most
patients knew just as little about the procedures themselves but patients who
attended the clinic often, to undergo similar tests, were able to provide
better insight. Patients would usually wait until they were called in to voice any
specific questions, but seemed frustrated when waiting.

From my understanding, this frustration may have stemmed
from not being informed well enough about the waiting times. I realised this as
I noticed a shift in a patient’s demeanour once they had been informed by a
member of staff, and noticed patients who had been informed on entering
expressed less frustration.

 

            Discovering
the waiting room from the point-of-view of a patient, I developed an
appreciation for the skills staff were able to utilise in order to maintain an
efficient working space.

            In this
clinic, I was fortunate enough to witness how staff used their problem solving and
team working skills to improve the overall patient experience.

One such instance was in encountering an individual who
refused to remove their shoes and was aggressive towards members of staff.

            I feel
this situation was handled very well as a compromise was achieved, and a
rapport was built due to patience and good communication. His wishes to keep
his shoes on were respected and a note was taken regarding the reliability of
the height measurement. The member of staff showed leadership as they reassured
the patient and made the patient more comfortable knowing his opinion was being
listened to. The patient did not immediately calm down and it required patience
and persuasion to build trust between the patient and practitioner. Dealing
well with a patient can affect more than just the patient in question, as other
patients in the waiting room will also take notice, possibly answering some of
their own questions.

 

            Another
such instance where efficient teamwork was displayed is how physiologists would
acquire patient data from the receptionist discretely, and continue to organise
themselves so patients were seen as swiftly as possible, reducing waiting times.

  IT and
communication skills were used by the receptionist, as he was very efficient in
informing patients about appointments, answering any questions regarding
details, waiting times and where amenities such as toilets and the café were
located. Furthermore, the receptionist is also responsible for signing patients
in as they arrive for appointments and also documented completed tests on an
online database.

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