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What if the nursing staff is not communicating with my doctor?

Being in the hospital can be frightening. On top of not feeling well, machines surround you, and there are always people checking at you at all the worst times.

Unlike what seems to be the case on tv, the doctor may only come in your room once or twice a day while you are in the hospital. The rest of the time, you count on the nursing staff to help you communicate changes in your condition to the doctor.

Here’s what you need to know about the nursing staff in the hospital and their obligations to you as a patient.

What are the primary functions of a nurse?

Times have changed a lot over the last several decades. While nurses have always had a lot on their plate as far as job duties, the list of tasks has only increased. To manage costs, hospitals try to get by with as few staff as possible, leaving nurses with a lot more to do.

In addition to the jobs you expect, nurses also have duties that include:

  • Running diagnostic tests
  • Administer medications
  • Coordinate care as recommended by the doctor
  • Communicate with the doctor and other members of the medical team

Even in a busy place like a hospital, you should still feel like you can communicate with the members of your care team.

Trouble communicating

The nursing staff have a big responsibility, but that does not mean that they can put off your concerns about your care. While some of their position includes patient education, if a symptom worries you, your nurse should give that information to your doctor.

Any time a symptom starts getting worse without a member of your care team taking some action (or even if they acted and it continues to worsen), ask to talk to a nurse manager about the situation. Also, if it seems like your doctor is not familiar with concerns you mentioned to the nurse earlier, talk to your care team to make sure your needs are met.

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