I love the fact that my wife is not a physio, nor has anything to do with healthcare at all. But I don’t love the fact that she has some ongoing health issues that force her to seek regular consultations and treatments. However, what this does give me is some invaluable insights and perspectives into a patients world on the other side of the consultations we as healthcare providers give.
For example, as usual this evening me and my wife were talking about our days at work and what occurred. We discussed the shock of the US presidential election (can you believe that shit!), and she went on to tell me some of the latest office gossip, and some of the issues with her suppliers and current markets. I then started to complain about the traffic getting to work, and moaned about how a lot of patients today didn’t seem to understand how I had their best interests in mind when I didn’t do things they wanted, mainly corticosteriod injections.
I went on to complain about how I wished patients would understand that I only decide NOT to do things for THEIR benefit, and how it frustrates me that many patients don’t seem to believe me and are often dissatisfied, seeing me as unhelpful or unwilling to help, and how I assume, they think I am being lazy or am trying to save costs by with holding treatment.
She then told me to get over myself!
As a patient herself seeing some of the most highly specialised and experienced professionals in their field, she reminded me how she has also been told she didn’t need a treatment, despite her own reading, feelings, and beliefs convincing her that she did.
She tells me she also gets annoyed and frustrated at her specialists when they advise and recommend something different than what she was expecting. She tells me that its not that she thinks these experts haven’t read the research, or don’t know the statistics, or with hold things for costs or other reasons. Just that they don’t know her well. She tells me yet again that if her healthcare experts listened a little more and acknowledged her concerns, fears, understanding a little better she would more likely accept what they suggested better.
It’s good to remember that there is always another perspective to all our interactions. It’s good to reflect on whether you did all you could to acknowledge those patients thoughts, opinions, and beliefs, or did you just think you did. It’s always good, as Dr Kieran O’Sullivan tells us, to ask our patients to tell you what they think they heard you say, rather than assume they have understood what you have said.
As a healthcare professional that often gives his advice and opinions to others it is good to be reminded of this regularly, and perhaps my frustrations today were due to my own failures rather than my patients?
As always thanks for reading