On average, patients and their healthcare providers only spend 18 minutes together during their office visits(Neprash et al., 2021). In the busy clinics where I work, somehow the patient and I are supposed to discuss the patient’s concerns, medications, and lab results, while fitting in a physical examination, a discussion about healthy lifestyle, and a plan to follow up in the near future.
All of this in 18 minutes?!
The reality is that most clinics only allow 15 minutes for each visit, so if your healthcare provider were to take 18 minutes, that would cut into the next patient’s time and each patient would have to wait longer than the previous one. Or, your healthcare provider could just blow into the room like the wind of a hurricane, pepper you with yes/no questions, listen to your heart and lungs, tell you they're going to do some tests on your blood and urine, send some prescriptions to your pharmacy and tell you to look up the medications online if you have any questions, schedule you for a follow up to make sure the lab results are OK and medications worked, and move on to the next patient in the same way.
Does any of this sound like the care you want to receive? Does any of this sound like the care you have received?
I can tell you that as a nurse practitioner and a former emergency nurse, the pressure to rush from patient to patient feels unsatisfying at best and unsafe at worst. Patients often leave the clinic with more questions than they had when they entered the clinic. I started Nursing Current to slow things down and give patients the time they need and deserve to get a thorough understanding of:
What their diagnoses and laboratory results mean
What medications they should take, why they’re taking them, and how to take them
How to self-manage their medical conditions with lifestyle modifications
At Nursing Current, we partner with patients to provide evidence-based information about everyday health topics, while integrating nutrition, physical activity, and other lifestyle modalities to help patients to achieve the best health possible. Nursing Current is not a replacement for your healthcare provider. We help you to make the most of your visits with your healthcare provider. We believed that patients are the experts in their own lives and with the right information, they are in the best position to make the best decisions for themselves.
Let’s work together toward understanding your healthcare landscape. Sign up for the Nursing Current mailing list to receive information about the everyday health concerns affecting you.
Neprash, H. T., Everhart, A., McAlpine, D., Smith, L. B., Sheridan, B., & Cross, D. A. (2021, Jan). Measuring Primary Care Exam Length Using Electronic Health Record Data. Med Care, 59(1), 62-66. https://doi.org/10.1097/mlr.0000000000001450