Mon, Sep

Getting Patient's Name Right: Nurses Are Stupid?

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Don't ever judge the competence of a nurse merely on grounds of how well he or she spells or pronounces your name. Your name can even be a three-letter word like Ama or Abu.

These days, I see people make social media videos that say that nurses of late "don't know anything" because they can't even spell or pronounce their patients' names properly at the OPD.

And for that matter nurses are stupid; they don't know anything. One video I watched yesterday said 99% of nurses can't get patients' names right and are stupid for that matter. You're the one who is stupid and lacks logic. Nurses are not taught names and its varied spellings and pronunciations at school.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with the care of patients. Do you know the number of tribes in Ghana alone and do you know that some of them have names that are completely unpronounceable? I am a Dagomba but sometimes I struggle to pronounce the very typical and proverb-kind of Dagbani names. Yet you expect every nurse to pronounce every name outside his or her mother tongue without stammering. Are you not being impossible?

Again, if a nurse asks you to spell your name, don't think that he or she is stupid. Don't go home and tell people that the nurse couldn't even spell my name. For instance, a common name like Ayisha can be spelt as Aisha or Aysha or Uysha. Even though Mumin is the common spelling, my brother decides to go with Moomen and there are other variants. Even common Mohammed has several variants. Even English names such as Steven, Jon and several others have different morphologies. Do you know that Gaddafi can be spelt in ten different ways and may even be pronounced differently by different people? Even biblical names can have different spellings and pronunciations. For instance, hard-to-pronounce Melchizedek, is also spelt as Melchisedech, Melkisetek, or Malki Tzedek.

Don't ever judge the competence of a nurse merely on grounds of how well he or she spells or pronounces your name. Your name can even be a three-letter word like Ama or Abu.

The King of Thailand is called Maha Vajiralongkorn. You see, are you not pronouncing it again? So, are you stupid? There are even more "horrible" botanical names the Ghanaian nurse meets every day. Listen to this name, Sierbertenteng. Does this name look and sounds German? No. It's Waale-Dagaare name meaning a "Ghost Has No Town" according to the owner. And you expect the nurse to know, spell or pronounce all these kind of sentence names perfectly? Are you out of your damn mind?

Look, I mispronounce names of patients at the OPD and sometimes the scornful look I get from the patients just make me feel down. But "does I care" for their ignorance? Ghanaian patients lose some kind of confidence in nurses to take care of them if they (nurses) get their names wrong --- as if their cure solely depends on the accuracy with which nurses get their names --- spelling or pronunciation. Some patients won't even mind you for mispronouncing their names and others will just mumble insults at you. Herh! Am I your family member?

If you're a Ghanaian patient in Germany, US or Switzerland, chances are that 99% of the nurses won't be able to pronounce your alien cum botanical name well. Will you then conclude that those nurses don't know anything or are stupid?

I'm a nurse but I'm not against the public criticising nurses for bad attitude, lack of empathy or poor show of nursing skills but I will never ever accept the public judging nurses simply because they can't spell or pronounce a patient's name (no matter how common that name is) correctly.

There are no cast-in-concrete rules for spelling and pronouncing names as it is in grammar (orthography). So, let's stop the needless public shaming of nurses on social media simply because they couldn't spell or pronounce your (common) name when you visited the hospital.

Next time you feel like demeaning nurses because they got the spelling or pronunciation of a name wrong, try and pronounce this sweet and simple Konkomba name, Uwuniborynwcheborryb.

Nurses are seriously underpaid in Ghana. Three of my friends have ran to the UK for better pay. So, the nurses who are staying around to help improve the health delivery system should not be NEEDLESSLY INSULTED, ATTACKED or DEMEANED on tangential issues.

© Hanan-Confidence Abdul

Senior Registered General Nurse

Tamale West Hospital

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