What is it?

  1. Does it bother you when people refer to their patient's as "it". I'll assign and admission to a nurse here is how it goes.

    Me: "You're getting an admission in room such and such"

    Nurse: "What is it?"

    Me: "IT is a human being, a patient, with....such and such diagnosis".



    On the other hand, being in charge, sometimes I reduce my patients to room numbers.

    Nurse: Mr. Smith is having respiratory distress...


    Me: What room is he? Oh and room 207B needs pain medicine..

    sigh...
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Sleepyeyes
    Not trying to dehumanize the pt; just trying to walk that fine line between useful information and breach of confidence?
  4. by   Q.
    Originally posted by 3rdShiftGuy
    Does it bother you when people refer to their patient's as "it". I'll assign and admission to a nurse here is how it goes.

    Me: "You're getting an admission in room such and such"

    Nurse: "What is it?"

    Me: "IT is a human being, a patient, with....such and such diagnosis".



    Maybe because you referred to the patient initially as "an admission" rather than "a human being" is what led the other nurse to follow suit. Just a thought.
  5. by   Tweety
    "Maybe because you referred to the patient initially as "an admission" rather than "a human being" is what led the other nurse to follow suit. Just a thought."

    True, a lot of times I say "patient" and not "admission", but you got me thinking. Perhaps I should say "you're getting "someone".

    But the "it" word still bugs me.
  6. by   Rustyhammer
    When you get your 3rd admission and you only knew about one of them then you start getting a bit impersonal about things.
    -Russell
  7. by   Jenny P
    I work CV-ICU, and occasionally work charge. Sometimes we get admissions with less than 10 minutes notice; yes, we do say "what is it?" and no, it doesn't bother me. Many times all we are told about "it" is that they are coding and need to be admitted NOW. Pt. confidentiality and time constraints are important when we need to have the proper technology (vent, external pacer, IV pumps, etc.) on hand. Once the pt. is there, however, we do refer to them as a person; I've rarely heard of anyone saying just the bed number instead of "my patient in ...."
  8. by   adrienurse
    This is mostly a cultural thing, but it drives me crazy!!!!
    People whe refer to their patients as "this one and that one" who mix up he with she. I know that it's innocent, but it sounds so bad!
  9. by   Ortho_RN
    We use "it" alot, but we are referring to broken hip, total knee, whatever the ailment is rather than the person ...
  10. by   live4today
    The phrase "You're getting an admission" is quite familiar to me when I worked nursing, but I don't ever remember hearing a patient referred to as "it". I have heard "What's wrong with them?" I've also heard "Are they walkie-talkies or bedbound?"
  11. by   hoolahan
    Guilty as charged. To other nurses, and sometimes docs, I will maybe say "the GI bleed in bed 6" to the groggy resident who has no freaking idea who Mr John Doe is at 2am, or "Can you check vitals on bed six for me? When I am tied up with a doc doing a procedure. I never intend for it to be dehumanizing, just a fast way to ID what I need and who I need it on, ot to jog someone else memory.

    When I am with my pt's, I never say "Mr. Bed six, can I get you some pain medication to make it easier for you to cough and get some rest?" I know who they are, address them by the name we agreed on, and they have my TLC and all of my knowledge and skills at their disposal. Yes I may ask someone to"See what Bed six wants" while I can't get there, at least I am making sure someone addresses bed sixes bell.

    I think even if I was a pt, knowing how I did that, and never intending to dehumanize anyone, it would not bother me in the least. Sorry, just being honest here.
  12. by   CATHYW
    I think it happens because we compartmentalize things in our brains. We pull out only what we need to know. I don't think that any one of us would be intentionally unkind or unfeeling to a patient. I know I often can't remember names, and I'll say "the man in 190", or something like that. When we hear of a new admission, I often say, 'what is their major malfunction?" That is to cut to the chase-I don't need the whole report, just some idea of what will be going on.

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