Don’t Touch Me! At Least Not Without Asking Me!!!

Check this out.  What you will see is an interesting discussion by a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner on the topics of “Consent Culture” and “Bodily Autonomy.” Frankly, I had to think about both of those terms for a few minutes, and read the referenced post, in order to understand what each of these terms means and why I should care.   

Let’s take them one at a time. We are indeed in a Consent Culture. Want to put cookies in my computer? I have to consent. Want to have me comply with your rules and regulations? I have to consent.  Etc.  And the rallying cry of the Consent Culture? Very appropriately, #MeToo. BUT. How do we get a child to consent to medical care being provided? Sure, the legal onus here falls on the parent or guardian, but children can be traumatized if they have not bought into a procedure, even a benign one, before it is performed on theirbodies.

Bodily Autonomy? Related issue. This is my body, don’t mess with it. 

All of this got me to thinking. How about medical practitioners who are treating adults? Shouldn’t they have the same considerations and concerns? 

Bottom Line. At the end of this post, we are provided with five simple guidelines on how to manage these concerns constructively. My favorite, without a doubt, is that pediatric practitioners should announce what they are about to do and wait for an “ok,” even a tacit one.  

I’m thinking that the same thing is true for practitioners taking care of adult patients. This doesn’t take a lot of extra time and, in an era where office visits are increasingly rushed, might be right up there with warming the stethoscope in terms of providing patients with the feeling that they are being “cared for,” not just “treated.”

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