The patient is now an economic unitBMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7009.882a (Published 30 September 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:882
A week in three wards of a general hospital gave me the opportunity to see things from the patient's point of view. Most of the aspects of patient care which I am discussing involve changes which have occurred in the decade since I was last involved in hospital medicine.
One change which struck me immediately was the use of the patient's first name by nursing and ancillary staff. I have no objection to this but I know of many people of my generation or older who think it is a loss of dignity, with the implication that they are being treated as children, as is sometimes the case. It would not be difficult for the nursing staff to ask patients how they would like to be addressed.
Another innovation is the named nurse scheme. Patients have a named nurse who takes a special interest in their problems. Though excellent in theory, it does not always work in practice. I discovered who my named nurse was only after she returned from four days off. She did not introduce herself to me or to the other patients and it was clear that none of them knew who their named nurse was nor …