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Monday, February 25, 2013

Happy Thoughts

          I felt like my last entry was a Debbie Downer, so I thought I would write another entry.  About a month ago I was told by my boss who is also a PA that in order to help prepare me for the job I should go to a meeting near the hospital.  This meeting was for patients of the Orthopaedic practice I will soon working for.  Basically, the meeting was 2 hours and explained everything about knee surgery.  The presentation was run by a Nurse Practitioner and a Physical Therapist. Together these two women did a wonderful job in explaining everything from pre-admission testing to post-operation expectations.  Each future patient and their families were handed a packet with the presentation as well as other information.  I found the presentation to be informative but not too complicated that it would overwhelm a patient.  I even learned a few things myself.  In this presentation the NP passed around a model knee and explained the anatomy and how the surgery would be done.  She then passed around the artificial joint and explained the materials that were used to construct it.  The Physical Therapist went into detail on the exact stretches and exercises that would be used to get the knee fully functioning.  At the end patients were able to ask questions.  I should also mention that many of these patients had already signed up for surgery, but there were also people in the audience who were on the fence.  In the latter group of people I found that they were really appreciative of the presentation and the information that was given.  I am not sure whether they decided to have surgery or not but the point of the presentation was not to force anyone into making a decision.  Instead, it was focused on making people as informed as possible on knee replacement. The good and the bad. Nothing was sugar coated.

      As I left the presentation, I could not help but to feel happy.  I am so excited to work with a group of individuals who care so much about their patients. It means a lot to a patient when someone takes the time to explain.  Patient education is essential and really is not utilized as much as it should.  I have found that patient compliance tends to increase when you educate them.  Having surgery is a scary thought to anyone.  Alleviating even a fraction if that can make a huge difference in perspective.  It may not take 2 hours like this presentation did to help alleviate the burden, in the office it may take 5 minutes. However, those 5 or so minute are precious and should be used effectively.  To any PAs out there, NPs, MDs, DOs etc, I hope that you take time to educate and put your patients first.  That is the way I like to practice and I am so glad that my employers feel the same.

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