Excerpt from Sorry Works! Tool Kit: Identifying Colleagues?
In the new Sorry Works! Tool Kit, we provide a comprehensive review of the most commonly asked questions and challenges you will receive when starting and sustaining a disclosure program. The Q&A section is extremely valuable for c-suite, risk, attorneys, disclosure team leaders, physicians and nursing leaders, etc. Below is one of the questions asked and answered in the Tool Kit -- to see the rest be sure to order the new Sorry Works! Tool Kit today. Situation: You may have had the following demands hurdled at you by angry family members:
"What were the names of the doctors and nurses involved in my son's surgery?"
"What was the name of that doctor who visited me yesterday afternoon? You know, the tall one with the accent?"
What was the names of those two nurses last night? You know, the two idiots who could never answer my call button. I think they were goofing off all the time..."
The knee jerk reaction may be to withhold names, however, family members will get this information anyway through discovery. So, why prolong the inevitable and in so doing make family members even angrier and more suspicious? Moreover, sharing the names of people involved in an event or situation does NOT mean we are assigning blame or implying they are bad clinicians. Again, no speculating, editorializing, or jousting, even if you have a hunch a mistake did happen. Simply stick with what you know:
"Yes, the tall physician with the accent is Dr. Smith."
"The nurses who cared for you last night were Ms. Jacobs and Mr. Jones. I am sorry you were frustrated. I suggest you speak with Jacobs and Jones this evening, and/or speak with the nursing manager."
Now, some long-term care professionals have expressed concern about providing last names due to safety concerns (they don't want an angry family member showing up at a colleague's house). This is a valid concern, but you can certainly provide a first name -- John, Mary, Sue, etc -- and direct the family member to administration.
In disclosure we always say staying connected post-event is the best thing for patients, families, and caregivers. Sometimes, this means providing a name.