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Nurse discusses how to navigate the modern world of healthcare
October 12, 2018

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SHEPHERDSTOWN -- According to Adventis Healthcare Vice President Susan Glover, learning how to effectively navigate the modern world of healthcare is a skill that can be developed.

Glover, who is also a registered nurse and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, spoke about the importance of being prepared for health emergencies during Christ Reformed United Church of Christ's Oct. 2 First Tuesday Speaker Series event.

"Many of us get intimidated in the healthcare situation, especially if you've been hospitalized," said CRUCC's Rev. Gayle Bach-Watson, mentioning she hoped the event helped attendees gain confidence for when they enter their next healthcare situation.

According to Glover, many people don't realize how important their part is, in the quality of healthcare they receive.

"I'm a mom, a wife, a daughter, a nurse -- I've seen healthcare at its best and at its worst," Glover said. "I'm passionate about helping people become an active part of the healthcare process.

"You need to designate someone who knows you and who you can trust, who you can give your medical information to you. Someone who you can rely on if you were to become ill, to supply your medical information to your doctors," Glover said, mentioning the advocate's having an In Case of Emergency form of the person's emergency contacts, personal information, medical prescriptions, allergies and family history can speed up the healthcare service process. When compiling the ICE form for the advocate, the person should consider placing extra copies of the form in a designated spot within his or her home and wallet, in case the original is not available.

Another recommendation Glover gave during her presentation, was to be hyper-aware of patients' medical treatment. One major issue is the failure of medical personnel to wash their hands before working with a patient, which, although a legal requirement of the personnel, is an often-overlooked spreader of bacteria. If medical personnel do not wash their hands after they enter a patient's room, patients or other people in the room should request them to do so, Glover said.

According to Glover, questioning medical practices is a necessary part of receiving good patient care, including asking about why something is being done in a certain way or for identification of the medications/fluids being given to patients.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention really advocate for being informed, being empowered, and being prepared. Sometimes in the hospital, you have an IV or catheter -- it's not inappropriate to ask, 'how long will I need this?' Because the longer you have it in, no matter how well it's put in, the more likely you are to get infections from it. Feeling like you can speak up and ask why someone is prescribing antibiotics to you is very appropriate," Glover said, mentioning communicating with medical personnel increases a patient's likelihood of having a positive healthcare experience.

"We know what people tell us about their health history, but you can notice subtle changes in your loved ones' behavior better than us. So most of the time, healthcare providers want your input. It's important to speak up," Glover said.

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