I had the fortune of visiting a cancer center in Dubai the other day. I will admit that I was shocked that there was nearly no difference between this center and any of the various cancer centers I have visited in the US and Canada.
It was staffed with physicians, nurses, ancillary staff members all huddled around patients. Try to do the right thing. Care for patients in the midst of a life altering experience.
I had the privilege of being able to visit with several of the patients. Everyone had very similar experiences. They were happy to have wonderful people surrounding them, their families, and the support of amazing medical staff and teams.
The one thing that each patients and family member reiterated, was the importance of wanting to be heard. It appeared that each patient had a bond with at least one member of the care team. Someone they felt relatively safe in sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly side of their personal experience with cancer. A few patients did state that they had wished more of the physicians were not so busy so that they could speak more to them on a one on one basis.
The takeaway: No matter where in the world we care for patients with cancer, everyone has a basic need to tell their story.
Each story is unique, personal, and is a chance for us as healthcare providers to learn. It is in listening that we understand the needs, expectations, and how to provide the support and care that people with cancer deserve. (all patients)
My suggestion: Let’s be bold and focus on the patient directly in front of us. Take the extra time to come in, introduce yourself, and then turn the conversation over to the patient. Listen more than you speak. You may learn something. More important, you may be able to provide the right care at the right time for the patient in front of you.
In the end, isn’t this what healthcare is all about?
As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek
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