I was on the receiving end of healthcare this week.  Being a patient, and a nurse, is a little like being a "secret shopper."  I don't usually admit that I'm a nurse when checking in, filling out the voluminous forms, or being interviewed on my personal health history by the intake nurse.  I want to see how I'm treated — just like a regular, everyday patient. 

Not that THAT'S anything to aspire to!  As I checked in at the procedure desk for my endoscopy—one hour prior to my scheduled time—the clerk seemed way too concerned about whether my driver was with me than even if I had my insurance card.  I explained to her that my driver was scheduled to arrive at 4PM, the same time as my procedure, and that yes, she would be driving me home. "New policy," she said.  "I am not allowed to even bring your chart back into the procedure room until your ride is here."   "OK," I said, "Guess we'll have to wait then."

Fifteen minutes later, she asked me again when my ride would be arriving because "the doctor is getting anxious."  I chuckled and said, "She'll be here as soon as she can, probably five minutes."  I kept thinking to myself, "This new policy is all about the staff's convenience, it has so little to do with the patient." 

Upon my ride's arrival, and notification of same, at 3:35, I was invited back into the back room where I promptly teased the nurse, "I am here and so is my ride."  Within fifteen minutes, I was changed into a gown, had my new IV inserted, blood pressure, temperature and oxygen saturation measured, and health history taken.  Good thing I have very little health problems or I may have delayed the procedure.  I went into the procedure room at 4:02 pm. 

In the 'new era' of healthcare, we'll undoubtedly be hearing about lots of 'new policies.'  Let's hope that they're directed to making patients experiences more positive and safer instead of making sure patients rides are present and accounted for!