For day 13 of National Health Blog Post Month, I decided to use a bonus prompt which was to give advice to new doctors or nurses. I have had so many experiences with doctors and nurses over the past 12 years and I do have a lot to share with anyone thinking about entering the medical field. I think it is so important for everyone that doctors and nurses are educated on appropriate bedside manner. I have continued to say since I was 15 years old how a couple psychology courses should be required in medical school (and nursing school). The nurses I have come across usually did have a fine bedside manner but some doctors….holy moly! I had one random doctor come in screaming “Gas? Gas? When was your last bowel movement?” Sooo yeah that is a good example of someone clearly lacking in any type of bedside manner.
I would try to engrain in the heads of any person either in medical school or a recent graduate that patients are human beings. They are not organs and body parts…they are real whole human beings. I think a lot of doctors fail to treat the entire person. When you go to a specialist especially, their area of interest is obviously focused on one area of the body. So, when I would see my gastroenterologist or colo rectal surgeon, they focus on the intestines for the most part. However, people are more than just their intestines and I find that far too many doctors don’t look at someone as an individual and then provide treatment options based on who they are actually treating. There is rarely one way to go in terms of treatment (especially with IBD), and I think it is so important for doctors to look at everything about a person….not just the thing that is ailing them.
Another thought I had for new doctors (and I suppose nurses too) is to always listen to a patient. There are obviously people who fake symptoms but the majority does not. When someone comes to a doctor’s office feeling sick, there is usually something wrong with them. It could be in their heads…it definitely could. And a lot of the times people’s emotional states impacts their physical which is why I would advise any new doctor to look at the entire person and ask themselves what is going on in that patients life. Could there be something else going on causing these symptoms? Is there an enormous amount of stress occurring at this point in time for this patient? Did he/she recently suffer a loss? Was there a drastic change in the home life of a person? All of these questions should always be asked when examining someone whose symptoms are not crystal clear.
My main issue with doctors and nurses is that I always demanded to be treated with respect and dignity. Now dignity usually goes out the window when you are in the hospital but at a doctor’s office, you should always be treated like an equal. Doctors should give patients all the time they possibly can to ask questions and talk it through. Doctors need to educate patients on their diseases so that they can take ownership of it. If I had to pick one thing to tell a new nurse or doctor it would be to always, always, always remember that you are dealing with human beings!