Faculty of Health

Health workers and students reminded of the importance of an introduction

University of Tasmania health students are being reminded of the importance of making a personal connection with patients, through the ‘Hello my name is …campaign.’

Tasmanian support for the campaign is an initiative of the Health Literacy Network, which has been established within 26TEN (Tasmania’s strategy to improve adult literacy and numeracy) in partnership with the University and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The 26TEN literacy and numeracy strategy will be under the spotlight throughout the State from Monday October 24, as part of 26TEN Week.

‘Hello my name is….’ was originally started in the UK by Dr Kate Granger, a doctor and cancer patient whose experiences in the health system prompted her to campaign to remind health care professionals of the importance of introductions as a starting point for person-centred, compassionate care.

School of Health Sciences Senior Lecturer Dr Shandell Elmer said the power of health workers taking the time to say hello and introduce themselves to patients, should never be underestimated.

“It can be a daunting time for people when they are coming into a health service, whether they are only entering into the health service reception area or a busy emergency department, not knowing who anyone is,” she said.

“In the business of our everyday work lives we tend to take it for granted that people know who we are or forget the importance of introducing ourselves, we underestimate the importance of making that connection from the very first point of contact.”

Dr Elmer said making a strong initial connection also built student’s confidence during their work experience.

Faculty of Health Dean Denise Fassett said the campaign was an important reminder to students and all health workers.

While Dr Granger sadly lost her battle with cancer, her husband was recently in touch with the Health Literacy Network to say how thrilled he was to hear the campaign had reached Tasmania.

With many network members have already pledged their support for the campaign, Dr Elmer’s goal is to see ‘Hello my name is……’ spread throughout the Faculty of Health and further.

To pledge your support for the ‘Hello my name is….’ campaign go to http://changeday.com.au/pledge/building-a-health-literate-tasmania/