When in the exam room, we do not want it to be about the physician. However many of us don’t want it to be about the patient.
Some of us want it to be about the system, whatever system we are in, so that the system can run as smoothly as possible and get all our protocols met. Are we are making physician-robots? We isolate them and ourselves. There is a pressure when working in a system to sequester the physicians, such as wizards from the Muggles.
As physicians, we care better for our patients when we realize what we are getting out of the relationship. We give much better when we know what we are hoping to get and perhaps hoping not to get. We give better even with medical care. Is it comforting to think that when it is medical, it is objective, about data? More safe, perhaps. However, this binary logic, is false. We do not practice in such. We practice in a place where people smile and cry and bond and connect and receive from us and give to us. When we practice, it is personal. It is obvious that it is professional. The delusion is that professional is an either/or condition. Either professional or personal. Not both. Never both. That is a buttered wall to grip before sliding into patient doctor sexual relations. Sneeze.
There is a term called, Grace, you may have heard of. Grace is the condition of receiving without purchase. Having been gifted and celebrating in the gift without qualifying it. Perhaps getting a great review from a patient on-line you are expected to respond to, and just saying, “Thank you.” We have a hard time with this in our world. “Getting” well.
I struggle with “getting.” I cannot describe yet how to get well. How to receive. When a patient gives to me, I struggle not to qualify what I am getting in the same way I qualify taking a trip to Hawaii, “Oh, I’m going to a medical conference.” Or, “Look at this new patio set I got from Home Depot! It was totally on sale. I got a great deal.”
In practicing medicine, we need to grow to an acceptance of what we receive, and receive with Grace.
I am sure being a patient is better when we realize what we are getting from the exchange too. We get more, or perhaps differently, than what the insurance and copay gives purchase to. I hope the patient-doctor relationship is more than what can be had on the street of a Turkish bazaar.
Question: What are you getting from your patient-doctor relationship? What is your clinician getting from you? How can you receive with Grace? Does this affect your accountability to yourself? Is this an act of friendship to Me? Please tell us your story.
Self-Care Tip: Get you some Grace, with Grace.
This is a magnificent and important post! I won’t bore people with my answers now, because they would take up too many page. I will, however, reflect on the questions some more and be quite thoughtful about them. I also plan to print this out and give it personally to several people I know, some of whom are in the medical profession and perhaps my husband, a cardiology R.N. will give it to some of his doctor buddies too. Thank you!
Dab dab. Sniff. Such affection. Thank u iris.
Most welcome! Your patients and your readers are lucky to have you! Happy New Year!
Interesting post !