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What Are Some Questions Patients Usually Have for Their Nurse?

Higher Education Articles July 6, 2014

Nurses are trained to ask patient questions regarding their general well-being. Beginning with “how are you doing today,” they may branch off into “are you resting comfortably,” “can you reach the call button,” “how is your pain,” and other queries that directly reflect the nurse’s willingness to be of assistance. Yet oftentimes the patient questions center on understanding alternative treatments and the use of different types of technology.

1) What are some of the most important instruments nurses use?

Examples of state-of-the-art instruments would be the ultrasonography machine, which sends pulses of ultrasound into the body to collect and receive data that comes to view as an image, and the positron emission tomography (PET) scanner, which creates visual images of chemical changes in the body. The open CAT scan for claustrophobic patients is called Flash CT, which is a device better equipped with the use of less radiation and faster than the older models.

2) Is mammography better than ultrasound?

Women have begun to express a great deal of anxiety over the use of mammography for detecting breast cancer. A typical question is why a mammography is used when it’s painful and emits radiation. What the patient often doesn’t understand is that ultrasound cannot image the whole breast at once and is used primarily for diagnostic spot checking of an area a mammography has identified as having a lump. The breast ultrasound can differentiate between a fluid-filled cyst and a solid mass.

3) What is the best way to treat my early stage prostate cancer?

Patients are often confused about the different types of treatment used for early stage prostate cancer, believing the choice of treatment is purely a discriminatory preference of the doctor. When a patient asks this question, you should respond with an explanation of how age and other possible health problems may make a difference in the treatment, as well as the actual tumor stage. Surgery is an option for men in good health, while radiation is often used for older men that may be experiencing health problems.

4) What is minimally invasive surgery?

Patients watch a lot of television, so they’re actually pretty up to date on modern technology. A patient question might concern the use of 3D image navigation for spine fusion instead of standard open procedures.

There are a lot of plus points going for minimally invasive surgery. There is less blood loss, lower infection, less patient pain, and a quicker recovery rate. However, MIS uses fluoroscopic guidance, giving the patient higher radiation exposure. The use of MIS is an ongoing study with new innovations still in the development stage.

The questions patients ask are often sophisticated and require the ability to answer to the best of your expertise and knowledge. They may wish to know if chiropractic treatment is best for back pain, or if physical therapy, drugs, or surgery are most effective. They may ask about the use of natural remedies versus standard drug treatments. It’s an informed society, and your best response is to give your patient information that is current and explains the various options, their effectiveness, and possible side effects.

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