Sadly, both physical and mental illness is a part of life.
When people approach their doctors, they do so in a state of vulnerability and need. The last thing they want to encounter is a grumpy, rude, overworked medic. No one wants to feel like they are wasting a doctor’s time or are just ‘patient number twenty’. Doctors are here to fix issues, but we need to feel more like humans than faulty machines.
Our medical and emotional needs can vary from person to person, and it can be hard finding the right practice and doctor. Having said that, patients share one universal need: to be treated with compassion. Let’s look at some of the tell-tale signs.
They Operate Within a Compassionate Service
It’s true that staffing levels and budgets can affect the experience we receive. Nonetheless, there are practical ways a patient can be treated with compassion. According to Erin Reese concierge MD, people like to have longer than average visits that are provided on the same or next day. They don’t want to experience long waits in holding areas. People want to be treated like humans rather than claimants on their medical insurance.
They Demonstrate Empathy
Patients don’t just want sympathy; they want a doctor who truly understands and takes action.
Quality medics will say, ‘if it’s an issue to you, it’s an issue to me’. They won’t shrug off a person’s symptoms or emotions and will be prepared to arrange further tests if it puts a person’s mind at rest.
They Look For Underlying Issues
Someone could walk into a clinic and say they are stressed and struggling to sleep at night. It would be an easy, quick fix to prescribe sleeping tablets and send them on their way. A compassionate doctor will ask questions to find out the root cause. Perhaps there are health issues, or the person could benefit from marriage or debt counseling.
Kind doctors will not make a quick judgment when seeing an overweight patient, and they won’t just print off diet sheets. They’ll want to discover if the person has thyroid issues or are comfortable eating. There could be many causes, and the doctor will be seeking to discover them.
It’s true that doctors receive a lot of information from their patients during an appointment. They will need to record this before it’s forgotten. It’s also true that while the patient is speaking, they will want to have the doctor’s undivided attention. They won’t want to see them typing on a computer.
People are happy when they have eye contact with their doctors and when the doctor repeats back to the patient what they understand to be the issue. This is the most solid basis on which to proceed with tests or treatment.
Doctors have demanding jobs that can be highly emotional and technical. They can work long hours and battle with the administration. There may be a lack of resources and training in some areas too. Despite all these challenges, a compassionate doctor will put their patient first and treat them like the most important person in the world. Their tone, body language, and respect levels will be paramount.