According to the Dutch association for doctors’ assistants NVDA, some 62% of doctors’ assistants were faced with violence over the past two years, based on a survey among nearly a thousand members. Incidents included spitting, hitting, kicking, vandalism, being threatened with an ax, knife or firearm. and a host of verbal threats, such as ‘I’ll wait until you finish your shift’ over the phone. The NVDA says threats of all kinds are a daily occurrence from patients that are clearly frustrated about not being served as they expected to be served.
Only 11% of the doctors’ assistants involve the police in the threats. The reasons are the assistants don’t quite know if that’s something other assistants do or even how to react. Some measures being taken include making sure the support staff is behind a glass wall rather than at a reception counter. As well, it might help for patients to know what a doctors’ assistant actually does, possibly reducing the number of complaints as well since people often want to be treated fast enough as they have taken time work often and don’t want to wait.
I very much like my doctor’s office and my doctor. My only complaint is that the assistant (in my case often a receptionist with no medical training) asks me what the problem is, but then also starts giving me their opinion or asking me what I’ve done to alleviate the problem upon which I tell them that’s why I want to see a doctor. If I wanted to talk to someone unqualified I could also keep talking to myself or use Google, but of course, I don’t tell them that. As well, it’s well known that in the Netherlands, the receptionist and/or assistant are trying to dissuade people from seeing the doctor to keep waiting times down, but often this only helps create more frustration.
Any Dutch doctors, nurses, etc. in the house? Feel free to weigh in!
(Links: nltimes.nl, rtlnieuws.nl)
Tags: assistants, doctors, nurses, physicians, violence
I just turned away from the lock-picking talk, as the tent was absolutely packed (me being 5 minutes late). I don’t know how many people fit in these convention tents, hundreds, perhaps thousands, but that is the amount of people that after tonight may know how to break every lock you own.
Earlier today I was at the talk with possibly the smallest amount of listeners of this 4-day exercise, you might even say the attendants resembled Cantor Dust. OK, lousy statistical jokes aside, this talk was by statistician Richard Gill of the University of Leiden and dealt with the Lucia de Berk case.
I had heard of the case before. In 2001, a nurse from The Hague was accused of having murdered dozens of patients, and the strange thing was that most of her guilt was determined by statistics: she had been near the victims at the time of their deaths, and although a direct link with the accused in the form of a confession or evidence could not be established, the court found that the statistical likelihood of her being near all these victims at the time of death was so minute, she must have done it.
At the time I thought this reasoning seemed silly, but I have learned early on in life never to argue with statisticians. So imagine my surprise: here was a statician who argued that the court’s reason had indeed been extremely silly, and that an innocent woman had gone to jail.
I won’t bore you with repeating the entire lecture: author Maarten ‘t Hart summarized Gill’s position excellently in this article from NRC (Dutch). Gill’s paper on how likely the chance is that a nurse was on active duty during all deaths concludes that one in nine nurses would have gone to jail (PDF).
Tags: courts, HAR 2009, hospitals, judges, justice, Leiden, murder, nurses, statistics, The Hague