A doctor in the UK became a patient herself and realized not all healthcare providers introduced themselves. The doctor, Dr. Kate Granger MBE, firmly believed the thought and care around a simple introduction could set the tone for the remainder of the relationship.
Dr. Granger was inspired to start the campaign, “Hello, My Name is” to change the beginning of each healthcare experience for patients. Her passion around what seems like a very small gesture revolved around four core values:
Communication: Effective communication is the bedrock of good healthcare and starts with a proper and thoughtful introduction by the healthcare provider.
The Little Things: The little things are important and can either support the provider-patient relationship or erode the relationship. Introducing yourself to patients is one of those little things that is important.
Patient at the Heart of All Decisions: The most important person in the room is the patient and what they want should always guide providers and their decisions. Acknowledging them with an introduction reinforces their role.
See Me: Patients are not a disease or a room number. They are human being with hopes and dreams and with families and responsibilities. Don’t forget to see the person who has come to you for healthcare and tell them who you are.
Sadly, Dr. Granger lost her battle with cancer, but her campaign continues to remind healthcare providers to start their patient encounters in a positive way with a thoughtful introduction.
I know you might be thinking, “But I always do this!” , and when I was a practicing OT, I know I always introduced myself. So what can you take away from this campaign?
First, this campaign reminds us all to bring mindfulness back to something that may have become routine. Just being more mindful of the human being that is the heart of the relationship is valuable. Second, your introduction may give you a chance to make the connection to OT for the patient. “Hi, my name is Cheryl, I am an occupational therapist and I am here today to help you …..” Third, make sure your name and title are visible and legible to the patient after the introduction. You have their chart in front of you but the patient doesn’t have a cheat sheet, so wear a badge or scrubs with your name clearly legible. And finally, think of Dr. Granger the next time you introduce yourself to a patient or the next time you are a patient yourself. I am sure you will learn something new about this small gesture.