The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Provide Excellent Care? Genuinely Care About Your Patients
March 8, 2012 in Patient Care
A few years ago I found myself talking medicine with a highly respected physician. At one point during the discussion he asked, “What’s the most important thing you can do to provide excellent patient care?” It was a deep question, but only took a moment for me to respond. “Genuinely care about the patient,” I replied. He stared off, pausing for a few moments. This was obviously not the answer he expected. Nevertheless he affirmed that I was correct. We then discussed the merits of that response.
I had no doubt it was the correct answer then, and I feel just as strongly now as I type these words. Furthermore, I don’t doubt for a moment that it is and will remain the correct answer for as long as medicine is practiced. Why? Why does genuinely caring about the patient make all the difference? An entire book could be written in answer to this question. But for the sake of this narrative, I’ll highlight the most important concept: Genuinely caring will ultimately prove to make you a better practitioner than all the medical education in the world because you will care enough to stop at nothing until you find a way to help your patients.
Take a few moments to let that really sink in. When you really care your attitude, thoughts, and actions center upon the wellbeing of the patient. The patient becomes your ultimate priority. The patient rises above the time on the clock, the personality clash you have with that colleague, and most importantly, your pocketbook. If you find yourself scratching your head about a diagnosis or the best approach to management, you’ll search and search until you can figure out what’s best, whether through evidence-based medicine resources, consulting with your supervising physician, or by contacting the local expert to discuss the case. Because the patient is paramount, you’ll spend sufficient time with your patients, the time needed to really figure out what’s going on. You’ll develop powerful relationships with your patients, sufficient to twinge their hearts to that comfort level required to open up to you. Real communication and understanding will follow, and true healing will result!
Remember this pearl forevermore. Genuinely caring is the ultimate safeguard to ensuring that you become and remain an excellent Physician Assistant. And it just so happens that it’s also what makes this profession so rewarding!