I’ve just spent four days on duty with HistStudent, one of the people I work with at my Youth unit. He is an unusual person, and almost certainly an acquired taste. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will acquire a liking for his personality.
Don’t get me wrong. He’s a competent First Aider. Not astounding, but he can handle himself when he has to treat. I wouldn’t leave him on his own, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t let him treat.
However, he has all the subtlety of a breeze-block to the temple, and his bed-side manner needs serious work. He makes comments to patients that make me want to curl up in to a ball and hide, and on more than one occasion I’ve had to calm down a patient he has said something that gets them more than a little panicked, like commenting on his lack of experience, or making a point of mentioning if he’s not done something before. I don’t think we should lie to people, but I also don’t think it’s a good idea to say ‘oh, I’ve never tended a wound like this before’ when the patient is already worried.
This doesn’t just extend to patients. When trying to explain to a customer why we didn’t have cover a part of their event, he told them we didn’t have enough staff. While technically true, this customer had already had trouble with the Organisation elsewhere, and this was not the sort of comment we needed. (I would have just apologised, not offering a reason, and promised to make sure it didn’t happen again.) Both I and the doctors we were working with instantly identified this as the wrong thing to say, because the customer would see us as a disorganised company that couldn’t meet the commitments it had made.
Obviously, I’m not advocating telling an easy lie over a difficult truth. However, sometimes it’s appropriate to omit things to cushion the blow. We are not required to tell the whole truth all of the time…
Sometimes I wish I could tell him that I just need him to sit quietly in the corner and learn, but then he’ll just complain that I want to hog the patients… In front of them…