"Interpersonal skills"

About: St George Hospital / 3 West Orthopaedics

(as a service user),

I was transferred from the Emergency Department (ED) to an orthopaedic ward late at night. It was a four bedroom and completely dark. The nurse waiting to take my observations did not introduce themselves and the first question they asked me was if I had travelled recently, I believe to assess my COVID-19 risk.

Throughout my time in ED I had been in areas classified as 'cool zones' reflecting my low risk of having this virus. I was disappointed that the nurse, in my opinion, showed more concerned for their personal safety rather than my well-being. The nurse also expressed disapproval that I was still wearing my work boots in the bed.

I asked to use the bathroom. It was painful and difficult to undress from my work trousers. On my return from the bathroom the nurse was in the corridor outside the room and asked me to return to the bed. I became teary and distressed. I tried to be quiet to not disturb the sleeping patients in the room. 

I was struggling to remove my work trousers and shoes with my dominant hand injured. The beds did not have the call button or the bed adjustment controller within my reach. I also couldn’t reach tissues. I had not received any pain relief for many hours and I was in a lot of discomfort.

In my opinion, the nurse was abrupt and was unable to recognise my need for assistance to be orientated and settled in, given that it was difficult for me to be independent. I explained to the nurse that I missed my usual evening dose of my antidepressant and the ED Doctor had assured me it was recorded on my medication chart and it would be provided when I got to the ward. I felt the nurse was disinterested and I believe did not follow up.

The nurse, I believe had cold symptoms and sneezed without turning their head several times and then denied it. I also overheard them coughing loudly outside the room. I felt uncomfortable requesting pain medication in the morning from the same nurse. I overheard the nurse providing an excellent handover. They appeared to be very experienced and competent. However, their interpersonal skills were, in my opinion, lacking and I did not feel supported. 

My spouse was at home caring for our very young children. It was difficult being alone after midnight with no family or friend to advocate for me. This was my only negative interaction in an otherwise very positive experience at St George Hospital. 


Response from Paul Darcy, General Manager, St George Hospital 2 weeks ago
Paul Darcy
General Manager,
St George Hospital

General Manager of St George Hospital

Submitted on 15/06/2020 at 13:02
Published on Care Opinion at 13:19

Dear Patient with a broken wrist,

Thank you for taking the time to write of your recent experience at St George Hospital. I was sorry to read of your accident and to hear of the difficulties you encountered with our staff when you were transferred to the ward. It is important that you feel comfortable and have access to the nurses call bell and bed adjustment controller. I would like to apologise that this did not happen on this occasion.

Your feedback is important and allows us to improve the services and care we provide. Your comments will be passed on to the manager of the ward and will be discussed with all staff

I was very pleased to read that the remainder of your experience was positive as this is more in line with the high standards of care we aim to deliver.

I wish you well with your recovery.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Darcy

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