Friday, October 2, 2015

Theresa Brown

Theresa Brown, BSN, RN, works as a clinical nurse in Pittsburgh. Her most recent book is The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients' Lives.

From her Q & A with Caroline Leavitt:

I sort of agree with Sheila, in your book, who is disheartened that a doctor tells she has a 20 percent chance of surviving an operation. She prefers not to know. I wonder if there is a way to tell which patients want to know and which don’t? Would or could a hospital ever ask beforehand? I realize that knowledge is power, but isn’t there also a mind-body link? In your experience, do optimistic patients do better than ones who are more negative about their chances?

A: This is a hard question, because for a patient to consent to a treatment or operation they have to give “informed consent,” which means they understand the risks. However, learning that the odds are not in one’s favor can create anxiety and fear, which is fundamentally disempowering. As I portray in my book, if the patient’s nurse can soothe worries about risk that can really help, but nothing can totally take away anxiety about a risky operation. In terms of recovery, though, I haven’t seen that optimism or pessimism makes a difference in how people do, at least not when...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue