Starting the Conversation

I had an idea to share happy vignettes about the connection between physicians and patients. I wanted to explore why patients liked their doctors, and how doctors developed the joy of connection with their patients.

But, as I researched, I discovered the sad reality: Only a handful of doctors are truly happy in their roles as medical providers.

It didn’t matter what their specialties were, whether they were in academia, group or private practice, or whether they lived on the West Coast, East Coast or somewhere in between.

The truth is, most doctors aren’t happy.

But, quite by accident, I stumbled on one thing that did matter: the physician’s attitude when he or she encountered a patient.

As physicians, it’s up to us to send the right signals.

We all have patients who are easy to treat. We form a bond almost instantly. We hug them gently as they leave our office.

Then, there are patients who remind us of our grumpy Uncle Ned: tough to warm up to, complaining from the get go.

Even when you treat him for a minor medical problem, he is hard to satisfy.

Patients can sense our feelings. No matter how we try to hide those feelings behind our white coats.

I wanted to create a place where we could gather and reflect on how to bring back the medicine we all once knew and loved.

A place to explore who gets it right. And how.

Some of us are way beyond the starting point in our medical careers. When it comes to starting at the Yellow Brick Road and curving around until we get to Oz, I know some physicians are ready to throw in the towel all together.

In fact, they wouldn’t mind being whisked off to the Land Of Oz and going down another path, entirely.

But would that really serve you and your patients, well? Is that ultimately what you want to achieve? Or, do you long for a path that is tried and true, a path that guides you and supports you, every day?

I believe that we each have, in our hearts, the goal of helping patients.

We want to find that road again.

We want to feel fulfilled and satisfied at the end of the day.

We want to reap emotional, physical, spiritual rewards for the effort we put forth.

We want to high-five our patients, feel we have gone through a challenge together and come out the other side.

Does this ring true for you?

Are you at a fork in the road, and not sure which way to turn?

Do you even have time to think about where you are or where you want to be?

Together, I’d like to explore how we can find the Ultimate Guide to Quality Patient Care.

It would provide great patient care, of course.

But it would also provide enrichment and renewal of the provider’s spirit.

That’s what the Ultimate Guide is about: It’s about finding the good that’s out there in medicine and bringing it forward.

It’s about holding up the mirror and looking closely for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Finally, it’s about emerging on the other side of the looking glass to a view of loving quality care that nourishes the patient and refreshes the physician.

CATEGORIES: Blog on October 1, 2013 by Starla Fitch, M.D.

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