Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ideas for Medical Students

For those who may be starting as a medical student (my sister maybe?), those who are medical students, and those who are just starting their careers in medicine - I have a few ideas that may be useful to you when dealing with your patients (particularly those who are chronically ill!).
  1. Respect.  Always respect your patient.  They live in their own body, and know better than ANYONE else what is happening to them.  Do not ever make them feel like they are crazy for telling you their aches, pains, and other random symptoms.
  2. Keep up with medicine.  Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (as well as autoimmune conditions) are just beginning to be taken seriously in the medical profession.  These are real crippling illnesses that should be further understood.
  3. Work on your bedside manner.  No one needs to go see a doctor who is like a clinical psychologist, but some good words and well wishes on the part of the practitioner can really go a LONG way to making a patient feel less panicked.
  4.  Do not always sound condescending.  The Internet has become an amazing resource for learning more about particular illnesses, so it is very possible the patient you are talking to is as well-educated (if not more...) than said physician on the illness itself.  
  5. Keep an open mind about Eastern and alternative medicine.  Often times these procedures can be used with Western medicine to much benefit :).

What have I missed?  Feel free to fill me in!!



Rachael said...

GREAT pieces of advice and I have to say, I agree with comic strip #1 and I LOL-ed hard at #2! OMG XD

Ama said...

This was an awesome post honey! And the cartoons at the end made me lol ... <3xo

Anonymous said...

I'd rather have a doctor with a great bedside manner that will listen to me and learn about my rare chronic illness, than a brillant doctor who knows everything and is an arrogant jerk.

Toni said...

This is a great list, Annie. I got asked at a local book talk on Sunday what was the one thing I wish doctors would be told in medical school. I had to think for a while. This first thing I said was to be a good listener, but then I realized that it was more than that.

The one thing I wish they'd be told is that it's OK to have a patient you can't "fix." So many doctors have given up on me because they can't make me better. A woman in the audience who is a doctor then said that she wished they'd been taught that too because it's true -- you can't always make your patients better -- and that she thinks that the fact that they're not told that is why doctors begin to blame the patient when the patient doesn't get better.

Sue Jackson said...

ha ha ha - I love the Kermit cartoon, Annie!!

Great post and great points. What I like best about my doctor and my kids' pediatrician is that they both are down-to-earth, they listen, and they have no ego or arrogance at all. They are always willing to admit they don't know something but will find out. They are both also always willing to learn...even from a patient. Both are interested whenever I bring in new studies on CFS, and our pediatrician has spent literally hours on the phone with Dr. Rowe learning how to treat my sons' OI.


Annie said...

I'm so glad that you all have understanding doctors!!

Also, Toni, as per usual, your advice is impeccable!

I'm glad everyone enjoyed!