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They need to learn effective communication skills, meaning they share the hard truth, projected symptoms, and possibilities to treat or not treat the illness according to the patient's quality of life.
Most of the new physicians I encounter as a board certified professional chaplain in the hospital setting are aware they won't last long as Superman/woman and they do rely on other disciplines to fill the holistic needs of every patient. They utilize social workers, case managers, and chaplains to meet the emotional, logistical and physical needs patients have at discharge. Unfortunately it is often the seasoned physician that doesn't do the full-spectrum care and leaves loose ends for the vulnerable patient, support system, and registered nurse to discern and reconcile.
From a patient advocate standpoint, every physician needs to remember the power they hold as the caregiver in the white coat. They need to compassionately and directly communicate the reality of illness, the symptoms associated, and ALL of the options possible in treating, or not treating, an illness.
We, as patients, need to remember that our physicians are only people too- those that love to bike, enjoy Indian food, and have their own preferences for their personal healthcare. They may benefit from more practice in knowing themselves through required counseling, mentoring, and pratices of self-care that will help them survive the rigorous preparation these physicians are experiencing. If we had more healthy physicians, we may have more healthy people.
It is my hope and prayer that health reform allows for better quality of life due to better education and practice of all involved- less student loan debt, more time allowed for preventative care, respect for the options available at the time of a poor prognosis, and better coordination between interdisciplinary staff that work more effectively together than alone.
posted 2 years, 3 months ago
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