New York Hip and Knee Scholarship

Introduction

My name is Luke Her and I am a senior pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. I am the first in my family of nine children to be graduating from college. The reason I am writing this essay is because my financial advisor told me I will run out of financial aid my last semester in the Fall of 2017.

She gave me all the information on how to apply for scholarships and loans to prepare for this situation. I felt that applying for the New York Hip and Knee Scholarship Program was one of my best options because it deals directly with what I am studying.

How can orthopedic surgeons doing hip and knee replacement surgery improve patient satisfaction?
“Three factors broadly determine the patient’s overall satisfaction following lower limb joint arthroplasty; meeting preoperative expectations, achieving satisfactory pain relief, and a satisfactory hospital experience.

Pain relief and expectations are managed by clinical teams; however, a fractured access to surgical services impacts on the patient’s hospital experience which may reduce overall satisfaction (Hamilton, et al., 2013).” Understanding these three factors and working together will increase patient satisfaction.

Meeting Preoperative Expectations. The worse thing to do is to have high expectations for a surgery to turn out the way you imagine it should and then realizing that it wasn’t afterwards. In order to increase preoperative expectations for any surgery you need to prepare yourself psychologically.

In my Health Psychology class, we learned that health is physical, psychological, and psychosocial. A person needs to be educated on how to prepare before, during, and after surgery. Psychologically, it’s very common that the person will deal with fear, anxiety, and stress throughout the whole process of having to go into surgery. It is up to the individual along with the medical team to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress.

Here are some ways to cope with stress (Groth, 2015):
1. Positive self-talk – say positive things to yourself when things get stressing
2. Emergency Stress Stoppers – deep breathing, going for a walk, meditating
3. Finding pleasure – find something you enjoy doing; a hobby, sports, etc.
4. Daily relaxation – tai chi, yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, etc.
5. Physician – If you can’t manage your stress see your doctor or a specialist

Psychosocially, the person needs to have a strong social support group to help them with their stress. If you are a friend, a relative, or even someone who is concerned, it’s always good to help them out even if they don’t ask for it. Many times, people don’t ask for help or don’t know who to ask for help. If the patient and medical team are able to help one another find the best methods to coping with the stress of the surgery, we will be able to increase preoperative expectations.

Achieving Satisfactory Pain Relief. Before, during, and after surgery the patient will be dealing with ways to relieve their pain. Physically and psychologically they can do some of the things I listed in coping with the stress. During the surgery, we need to continue to make sure we give the patient the attention they need and sincerely listen to what they are saying.

This will help put the patient at ease and help with a smooth transition after the surgery is finished. After the surgery, we need to know what is the right amount of medication to give the patient to help with the pain. Many times, people don’t get strong enough or too strong of a medication. We need to make sure we have a record on the patient to know what works for them and how much they need. If it’s a new patient, we can start from a baseline and work from there.

In addition to medication, the medical team and other people who care for the patient (friends, family, etc.) need to be supportive and assist in whatever makes the patient feel comfortable. If the patient doesn’t have people to support them, the medical team can help them find support groups which deal with the same type of surgeries they went through. By doing all of this, we can increase our patient satisfaction in pain relief.

Satisfactory Hospital Experience. To increase the satisfactory hospital experience we need to continue to strive to do what the patient expects of us throughout the whole process of their surgery. We basically need to spoil the patient with whatever they need from beginning to end of their surgery and rehabilitation.

Always focus on what we can do to better preoperative expectations, pain relief, and hospital experience for the patient. Physically and psychologically, we need to not only let them know, but to show we are doing our best to make the surgery a safe and secure experience.

Psychosocially we need to let them know that they are not alone in their surgery and that we can provide them with the social support that they need, be it therapy, family support, or any other social network that can help them deal with recovery.

2016 Scholarship Finalist

Luke H

Green Bay, Wisconsin

The final question on the application was an essay question.
The essay question was:

How can orthopedic surgeons doing hip and knee replacement surgery improve patient satisfaction?

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