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College of Nursing

Welcome to the College of Nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. We are the only academic health sciences center in South Carolina, and thus we are on the cutting edge of health care practice, education and discovery.  At MUSC, we have the largest accelerated BSN degree nursing program in South Carolina, and thriving enrollment in our DNP and PhD programs of study. In fact, we are a leader in online graduate education, and in this way the MUSC College of Nursing “Fuels the Nursing Pipeline.”

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Recent Nursing News | August 2014

DNP Education Makes a Difference

From The Desk of Dean Stuart

College of Nursing - Dean Stuart

System or patient-centered health care?

So many of you know by now that I have recently had shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff. I am recovering nicely, thank you, but wanted to share with you some of my observations about this experience. First, I think all clinicians should have an opportunity to experience things from the patient's side of the street. It is an enlightening experience in many ways. Let's start out with the most important part — the outcome of care. I am delighted to report that I received excellent clinical care. All of the health care providers who helped me were outstanding and the course of treatment was very successful.

But now let's talk about the process of care. That, unfortunately, was less successful from my point of view as a patient. It started with my pre-surgery wait times at the surgeon's office of one to two hours per visit. The message this sends is that my time was not as valuable as theirs, and/or that their scheduling system was seriously flawed. There are those of us who take off from work or who have to arrange child care or transportation for such visits and I cannot fathom how such a system can foster patient satisfaction.

Then there were issues around the surgical process itself. Being a good planner I emailed the office asking if I could have the prescriptions for my pain and other medications ready for me a day or two ahead of time so that I could pick them up and get them filled, and if I could be notified of anything else I needed post-surgery. I wanted to have everything ready and on hand when I arrived home. Good patient-centered idea? Yes. System-centered answer? No response. Incredible to think, that patients are given discharge information and prescriptions on their way out the door in a post-surgical state. Yes, you are supposed to have someone with you and yes, they are supposed to go to the pharmacy and run your errands rather than allowing you to be prepared ahead of time.

Finally, there is the follow-up. I did have an appointment with my surgeon scheduled for two weeks post-surgery but the only person who called me the day after surgery to see how I was doing was the truly fantastic anesthesiologist. But how wonderful it would have been if the preor post-surgical nurses could have called me on day three and five to see if I had questions or concerns, no matter how minor.

So the impression I came away with is that we deliver very good technical care but it is definitely system-centered and not patient-centered. The sad part is that I believe that this is definitely fixable if someone, anyone, looks at health care with the right lens. Could that be a nursing lens? I'd like to think so, but for this to change nurses must be more active, vocal and assertive in advocating for patients over systems.



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