Communication Problems with Rheumatology Nurse - NRAS

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Communication Problems with Rheumatology Nurse

Dingaan profile image

I have been treated for the last 15 years with the same rheumatology team who have been great when things were going well with my treatment. In the last few years my meds haven’t been as effective and my health has deteriorated massively so much so I hardly leave my house. I am currently waiting to get onto a 4th biologic and have had to communicate more than normal with my rheumatology nurse.

My issue is with her quality of communications with me. I use email most of the time and sometimes phone but never get through to her so email seems the best option. When she does reply it is usually a short badly written reply with no care for punctuation, capitals, etc. I sent her a few emails over 2 weeks ago and still no reply. I phoned up the hospital and It turns out she was on holiday for 2 weeks and nothing has been done about my meds in her absence. No “Out of Office” to say she is on holiday and please contact X in my absence.

She is obviously very busy but does working for the NHS mean you don’t have to work in a professional manner or am I asking for too much?

10 Replies

When I worked in clinic all my emails had to have my working times on . It was compulsory to put out of office on for a/l with a contact number . I would phone the consultant secretary and explain your issues first and foremost if that does not resolve the matter you are going to have to complain especially if you are not in a good place at the moment and your trying different medication . Good luck 💐

Some of this is a management problem with some lack of professionalism on her part. Unless you can find some way to feed this back tactfully you will be stuck with it. Try polite letter writing first, then perhaps approach PALS.

My Rheumy nurses are now not allowed to answer emails. You are told you must phone & leave a message....but sadly the person who answers the phone has nothing to do with rheumatology so the garbled messages getting through make for great difficulty.

Surely it must be quicker for nurses to just reply...not go through the charade of deciphering phone messages?

Maybe the problem is the number of nurses leaving the NHS.?

Two in my team are off doing courses two days per week....to become nurse practitioners ...hence leaving the rheumatology department.

So those left are rushed off their feet....

Mmrr profile image
Mmrr in reply to AgedCrone

I have some understanding for staff trying to cope in these situations, but unless we complain that the service is poor we are stuck with it.

agreed.to be frank it ain't my problem I'm an old fashioned girl who expects good care. end of.

Exactly.....I was seeing an NHS physio & even he had to send

FAXES. ...for goodness sake.

You have to smile when our new Health Secretary announces faxes are to be replaced by emails....as if emails are all his revolutionary new idea.

Yippee...we are almost in the 21st Century!

No wonder nurses are leaving for either the private sector or industry.

I think more than one issue and use of grammatically correct English is not that important, she probably has a nursing degree and how many English teachers understand the use of the medication we use. I'm not saying its not important to be factually correct but would I worry about a missing capitol letter etc well actually no. The time constraints these nurses have must mean that they are overun, and the situation is getting worse. As for the out of office that may not be her fault as it might be that someone else was going to do it but they let her down. I don't know but it would seem to me that this is not a lack of care but may be just a bit of chaos and no one got hurt. I've just got back from local hospital as they are running late clinics to get more people seen . Great for me what what about the nurses family who waiting for tea. The extra child care costs they have to pay because of these extra clinics might mean that turning the shift down would a better option if they do that then no clinic ! . We are living in difficult times and I'd be the first to complain if I was given poor care or bad advice or indeed no advice but bad spelling no, its not that important really . As long as the presciptions are right then thats fine.

I am aware that a lot may not agree with me and I'm sorry for that but to be honest having been in hospital so much recently I've seen a lot that makes me so glad I never worked in NHS as a slave, with poor conditions and most do look exhausted sometimes abused and attacked too. I saw a nightstaff nurse punched by addict in ward corridor last month and I'll witness in court if the nhs is brave enough to prosecute for ABH. He stayed on duty with a bloody nose and answered the patient calls.

Mmrr profile image
Mmrr in reply to medway-lady

The conditions people are expected to work under are deplorable. I was in education before retiring and experienced verbal abuse and threats on a regular basis as did my colleagues.

But, if we don't complain about poor quality care then absolutely nothing will be done. It does not need to be directed at an individual (unless that is justified) but at the overall level of service provided.

But, staff being rude is not acceptable at all. Many of us have been there at work, ready to scream , but you put on the smile and are pleasant to those you serve.

I got attacked at work too punched by a taxpayer and that was in Magistrates Court. I think world is getting more violent and I do agree with you just think always another side and the nurse did not appear to be rude just perhaps very stressed and we all expect so much. I had a job where we could get away for a coffee and good hours, yes abused a lot but well paid and respected. And that seems to be a huge problem just no respect. It works both ways does'nt it ? That nurse might have had a horrid day and we just don't know. If it happened a lot then yes I'd in a general way probably be extra nice to her/him and see where it went before complaining. If just the once forget it and move on.

To be frank, yes, I think you might be expecting too much. I expect nurses up and down the country are having more and more work piled on top of them. Caseloads are increasing and funding is decreasing. With this in mind, I would only ever expect a few short, succinct statements from a nurse's email, perhaps mirroring the way notes are entered. Bear in mind that their profession is nursing, not linguistics. Some of us are good at SPAG, others excel in numbers. Not many of us are brilliant at both and medics, in particular, do need to be mathematically minded.

I understand that the lack of an OOO is frustrating but I'm willing to bet that this nurse has simply been left to get along with Outlook. I doubt there was ever any spare money to send non-admin staff on an email course.

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