"Bedside manner from Medical Staff"

About: Sydney / Sydney Eye Hospital

(as the patient),

I was recently at the Emergency Department and then later followed up back at the Outpatients Clinic. The nursing staff were friendly communicative and professional and the receptionist on duty at the Outpatients reception was exceptional. I believe the medical  staff I saw could all learn from this staff member. 

The initial registrar who I saw was not too bad, he was interested in my eye problem and provided useful  information about the condition - blepharitis and an eye ulcer.  He also introduced himself (first name only).  After about 10 minutes, the registrar  then invited the specialist ophthalmologist on duty in to discuss my condition. The specialist did not introduce himself or even acknowledge my existence beyond saying - move forward - and look at my ear. After examining my eye, he then spoke directly to the registrar and left the room without another word.   When I was returning to the waiting area I saw him chatting to the nursing staff.

At the outpatients yesterday, I saw a different registrar. I had waited two hours and she did apologised for the wait and she did tell me her first name.  She then rushed through the appointment without sharing with me what condition my eye was in. I had to ask her if the ulcer was still there. When I mentioned the difficulties I was having at work with my vision she cut me off saying the new drops she was prescribing would improve my symptoms.

I do not mind waiting, I understand this is inevitable in the public system and not within the staff's control. I also understand the medical staff are very busy and also need to concentrate on examination, diagnosis and treatment. What they  could improve on is:

* telling patients their full name and position

* greeting patients by making eye contact and smiling

* asking them if they have any questions            

I have attended Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) Emergency Department many, many times with my children  and on every occasion the entire team from specialist to orderlies have treated patients like human beings and shown basic good manners. I have no doubt all the medical staff at the Eye Hospital are not only exceptional doctors, but also caring human beings, they are just not good at consistently showing it. And not just to elderly patients or patients with serious problems but people like myself with relatively minor but nonetheless distressing problems. And for the patient, this is the difference between being left feeling like an annoyance and not wanting to come back to feeling that you matter and feeling ok about coming back. 

       

Responses

Response from Pauline Rumma, Director, Clinical Services, Sydney and Sydney Eye Hospital

Dear Orange Coat

Thank you very much for sharing your experience in the Emergency Department and Outpatients Clinic on Patient Opinion. Our staff strive to be professional and empathic, and I am sorry that on this occasion these values were not reflected for you with the medical staff. I am disappointed to hear that the medical staff communication to you was poor in the aspects of introductions, collaboration with you on your care and explaining to you about your eye condition. Your concerns should be listened to and responded with respect and compassion regardless of the level of activity in the departments. Your feedback has been forwarded to the Eye medical teams for better understanding where we could improve our patients experience.

I hope your eye is now healing well.

Dr Pauline Rumma
Director of Clinical Services
Prince of Wales Hospital, and Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospital

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Updates, changes and questions related to this story

;