Patients with Patience

What is a patient?  We all will be one at one time or another.  If you have already needed medical attention and most of us have – you probably came away having learned it takes “Patience” to be a “Patient”.  It isn’t just about waiting time in an office or Emergency area.  It’s about the interaction between patient and provider.

Patients need to be listened to and in return they need to hear what their Doctor advises them.  It’s a “partnership in healthcare”.  Sometimes it’s not balanced  but its a work in progress.  The advice or medication or course of action given to the patient may not always be The answer. Sometimes it takes more than one swing at the bat to get a strike.  For whatever reason – whether a side effect or adverse reaction  – recommendations given by your Doctor may not work as desired.  That is when collaboration and persistence needs to happen.

In the past four years I have been grateful to participate in Tweet chats.  It gives me hope that we are making progress as patients in being heard, being understood and contributing to better care and better patient experience.

A patient is more than a body in a wrap-around gown.  We arrive with a condition, an illness, an injury and often a fear of the unknown.  It can be terrifying. This is not an ordinary day.  Sometimes we get good news and walk out with a huge sigh of relief.  Other times we are told words we never thought we would hear. It is nice when a prescription or a bandage  is all we need…but sometimes the words blood work, x-ray, cat scan MRI etc. begin a whole other patient experience.  Now we need a serious Partnership and answers to questions.

Sometimes the Patient-Doctor relationship is likened to a service provider and a customer.  I feel that there are times when this is true.  However this relationship is not like buying a car, a meal, or a weekend in a fine hotel.  But we still need to feel a connection, a mutual respect and confidence in the person we choose.

We come with a need, we hope to leave feeling better with a plan of action.  Does the doctor or health care professional leave feeling the same way?  I hope so.  I hope they know that we both need each other.

Medical professionals studied their passion to make a difference for others.  Patients are in need of their expertise.  Its a combination that involves both parties. We need a collaborative relationship with those on the other side of the office door.

As we end this year of 2014,  I am encouraged that with each new day there are improvements and changes in the health relationships we form.  Be Patient, but be the Patient – and use your voice to be heard.

Happy Holidays to each of you.  May you find Peace Love and Happiness as you gather with family and friends.

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