Week 1 Blog Post-Medical Experience

The only fist hand medical event I have experience in the American biomedical system occurred when I was 6 years old. I remember this day vividly as it was a traumatic experience for my young self. I was playing tag with my younger sister when she turned a threw a giant exercise ball at me while I was running. The ball stuck my legs and caused me to trip. I landed primarily onto my right elbow. I felt an immediate snap and immense pain. My parents looked at my arm and noted an obvious deformity so they packed me up in the car and headed to the emergency department at our local hospital. Once I arrived to the emergency department the registering nurse appeared to be in a bad mood and had no patience or sympathy for my condition. She asked for a wrist for the identification band but at that point I was cradling my injured arm to my chest. She appeared to be in a hurry so she grabbed my injured arm and yanked it towards her to place the arm band on. I immediately cried out which alarmed by parents. This was a horrifying experience for me as I was already in so much pain and that caused it to worsen. The nurse acted frustrated and just left us in the triage room. This initial encounter not only infuriated my parents but also upset them. Another nurse then entered the room to lead us to the evaluation room to be seen by a doctor. At this point I was cautious and afraid of every person to enter the room. This made it difficult for the doctor to examine me as I was afraid someone was going to hurt me again. I did not tolerate the examination well. This initial experience with the nurse made the entire visit difficult for everyone. After some convincing from my parents and doctor, they were able to take me down to radiology for an XR. The imaging confirmed what everyone thought, that I had broken my arm but in three separate places. Due to the severity of the break the doctor consulted an orthopedic doctor to evaluate me. Once again I was in a position to be seen by another person. The second doctor attempted to calm my nerves by explaining everything to me in lay terms. He assured by parents and myself that surgery was not indicated at that time and they were going to place a cast. He let me pick out the colors for my cast and talked me through the entire process of placing the cast. He was able to calm my nerves and improve my experience at the hospital by being so patient. The actions of one person having an off day ruined my trust with healthcare providers. I struggled for a long time as a child with routine healthcare visits following that. I am currently employed at an emergency department and understand the stress of the job. I know that it can get overwhelming and hectic. I make it a point to be mindful and sympathetic to all the patients that I encounter due to my own experiences.

One thought on “Week 1 Blog Post-Medical Experience

  1. Megen, I think your personal experience is very relatable and brings up a possible larger issue. Most nurses have pursued a career in nursing because they are compassionate, smart, and patient. This is critical considering they ARE the first to examine a patient, which sets the tone for the rest of the hospital visit.
    Unfortunately, you had a terrible first interaction. It’s frustrating to hear that even at a “pediatric level” you were so mishandled, that is the time to be more considerate and aware. However, it is commonly known that nurses are the first to be overworked due to a hospitals poor scheduling of their employees. As you said she seemed rushed. All in all – I think regardless of how busy or exhausted you are, any nurse can put on a smile and slow down for an injured child.
    On a different note, it is refreshing to hear that your personal story from a long time ago counteracts the typical stereotype of doctors have poor bedside manner in comparison.

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