When you’re a nurse working in an emergency room, anything can happen. That includes coming into contact with dangerous and volatile patients and guests.
While most situations will never get out of hand, there is a risk that you could be harmed during one of your shifts. That’s one reason why you should work on your estate plan and make sure that you have a durable health care power of attorney and advanced health care directive form.
The durable health care power of attorney will give someone you trust the responsibility of making decisions on your behalf while you’re unable to do so. The advanced health care directive form determines who that person is and will let them know your instructions.
Why should medical professionals have a durable health care power of attorney and advanced health care directive form?
Working in the profession you do, you know that people’s lives can change in an instant. You want to know that you are protected in case you fall ill or are injured. Your durable health care power of attorney, also known as a medical decision maker, will be the only person who can make health care decisions on your behalf. The rest of this health care directive form will let them know your instructions and preferences, so they can do their best to select treatments and to make decisions that you would have yourself if you had the opportunity.
Who should be your medical decision maker?
It’s realistic that you may not know someone in your family with as much medical expertise as you. You may have friends or colleagues that you would trust more with your care. It’s acceptable to select anyone who is at least 18 years old and who can be present when you need them. They should be able to ask questions about your care and to speak on your behalf, so that your wishes are known and carried out whenever that’s a possibility. If you don’t select someone to fill this role, then other doctors, social workers, nurses or caregivers may end up making decisions on your behalf regardless of what you would have chosen for yourself.