Mr. Cruz is a 34 year old Mexican man who went to the Emergency Department (ED) because of several days of upper respiratory track symptoms. A chest x-ray revealed a small lung nodule of unknown significance. He was felt to have a viral syndrome and was given an appointment to follow-up in the pulmonary clinic in 10 days for further evaluation of the nodule. After missing his initial and two rescheduled appointments, one of the nurses called him home to encourage him to keep his appointment scheduled for next week. As she speaks with him she is not confident that her message is understood. After completing the call the nurse discusses the patient with a HEALTH EDUCATOR expressing her frustration over communicating with patients who cannot speak English. She states: “These people never keep their appointments. I don’t know why we waste our time tracking them down.”
1. If you were the “Health Education Strategist” listening to the nurse’s frustration; how would you have responded to the nurse?
2. In your view what is exactly going on with both the Nurse as well as Mr. Cruz?
3. How can you help the two bridge the gap?
4. In your professional life if you ever encountered a similar case, how would you handle it-what strategies you would apply?
5. Is there any lesson to learn from this story?