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A terminally ill doctor wants all hospital staff to introduce themselves to patients

St James’s Hospital in Dublin has signed up to her campaign.

BEING ADMITTED TO hospital can be a frightening experience for anyone.

This can be compounded if doctors, nurses and other members of staff don’t introduce themselves to the patient.

Kate Granger, a terminally ill doctor in the UK, found this experience to be true when she was admitted to a hospital nearly three years ago.

IKTPMWys Source: Twitter

Following her admission to hospital in August 2013, Kate noticed that very few of those treating her introduced themselves by name.

“I made the stark observation that many staff looking after me did not introduce themselves before delivering my care. It felt incredibly wrong that such a basic step in communication was missing.”

Granger started an online campaign with the hashtag #hellomynameis “to encourage and remind healthcare staff about the importance of introductions”.

I firmly believe it is not just about common courtesy, but it runs much deeper. Introductions are about making a human connection between one human being who is suffering and vulnerable, and another human being who wishes to help. They begin therapeutic relationships and can instantly build trust in difficult circumstances.

A number of hospitals in the UK have taken notice, with staff members pledging to introduce themselves by name to patients – a simple but important step that can be forgotten due to issues such as time constraints.

Crumlin Children’s Hospital introduced the campaign last year, after a staff member saw it taking place in the UK. A number of other hospitals here have also implemented it.

The largest hospital in Ireland, St James’s in Dublin, has now followed suit. Since a launch during the week, more than 400 employees have signed up to the campaign.

Maria Kane, St James’s person-centred care manager, said: “Visiting a hospital can be a worrying and stressful event for a patient and their family. It is our aim at all times to reduce this burden from patients so their energies are focused on their healing.”

15/6/2016. The òHello my name is launch. Staff at St James's Hospital Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Kane told TheJournal.ie the hospital decided to act after receiving feeback from patients.

She said introductions play a very important role in establishing a relationship between patients and their families and staff members, but can sometimes be forgotten because employees are so busy.

“We know we can always do things better.

It’s making that human connection, not just about the courtesy. We want to put the patient at the centre of what we do – whether that’s getting them a cup of tea or stitching their wound.

Speaking at the launch, Lorcan Birthistle, St James’s CEO, said: “The simple exchange of names between any member of hospital staff and a patient is how the foundations of a relationship built on trust and compassion is fostered.

“We take a holistic approach to the care of our patients and the launch of the Hello My Name Is campaign reinforces our continued commitment to the delivery of person-centred care.”

Kane said the HSE has been very supportive and is encouraging other hospitals in Ireland to join the campaign.

More information on the initiative can be read here.

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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