I typically have a 90 minute drive from work to home. The other evening while driving home I had the chance to reflect on the days meetings and conversations. Then my mind went to my father. It reminded me that he was always my safe haven. He was the one person I knew I could call, day or night. I could tell him what was on my mind, be vulnerable, open, and unfiltered. He too could be brutally honest with me. He could give me the feedback, and let me know when I was directionally correct or incorrect.
It made me think about patients and consumers of healthcare.
Isn’t that what we all really want?
There isn’t a day that goes by in which I do not pass along an article or a research piece about physicians trying to dialogue with patients. Patients not always being completely open with physicians. Patients being more open with nurses. Nurses not speaking up to physicians when a mistake is observed.
You get the point. People are having a problem communicating.
Instead of focusing on who is not talking to who, perhaps we need to focus on creating a safe haven for patients?
If there is a care team surrounding the patient, someone should have the role of being the safe haven. Does it matter if it is a physician, nurse, social worker, or other healthcare professional? All that should matter is that someone on the care team needs to fulfill the role. Let’s forget the hierarchy.
Patients are consumers first and will have a connection with one person over another based on personality traits, expectations, and communication styles.
Instead of it being a one size fits all, perhaps it should be a whatever size the patient feels is the best fit?
Once the connection is made, the dialogue occurs, the team member can pivot and transmit the information to the rest of the team.
Patients need a safe haven to share their stories. In order for us as healthcare professionals to impact patients, we need their unfiltered, open, and vulnerable stories.
Create a safe haven for your patients. We need their stories.
As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek
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