So what motivated me to undertake my research? The answer to that lies in my experience as a specialist nurse and a long standing ambivalence with the out patients clinic. In my first post I used to use quite a number of delaying tactics in relation to getting to the clinic. I used to find home visits and liaison meetings to book in before I would get to the clinic. It took me a couple of years to get out of a navy uniform as well and the staff at the clinic disliked me and my status. I wasn’t there to help them out with the processing of patients and I would sit out in the waiting area and chat to the patients while they waited for their name to be called. I did not want to sit behind a desk in one of the consulting rooms like the doctors although that was what was expected.
The extent of their dislike for my approach materialised when a patient complained about me and they were able to ventilate to my manager about how disruptive I was in the clinic and how this was not very helpful and a hindrance to their work. Back then I was just very hurt by their response but with the wisdom of 20 years of reflection I now realise what they were trying to protect. Their complaints weren’t about supporting the lady who had complained about me but all about looking after themselves and closing ranks. The lady complained about me because she thought I should have given her special attention at the clinic, for very complicated reasons she had expected me to act very differently.
It was not my greatest moment but I know I didn’t do anything wrong, what I had done was maybe not give her extra special time in the clinic and maybe I should have acknowledged that. I am not sure it would have made any difference but what it did teach me was that I couldn’t fit in to a model of care that expected us all to 'behave' ourselves when at the clinic. There were many unwritten rules about behaviour in the clinic and I had cleanly transgressed many times.
So my research was about understanding people’s experience of the clinic, why did they come, what did they think about before, during and after their appointments. I disliked going to the clinic and felt that there must be better ways of providing advice and support to people.
So I decided to interview people three times over a period of 18 months,
Each time I visited participants for an interview I asked them to tell me their story about their recent experiences of health care and health care professionals.
I always felt that there must be a better way of delivering care for people, instead of the clinic and the model replicated in general practice...