Monday, February 18, 2008

Letter #29

Dear Future Physician,

Thank you so much for wanting to dedicate yourself to
this profession. I know that it takes constant and
continual work to remain on top of things in your
field, and I admire your commitment to that.

Basically what any physician needs to do is always try
to put themselves in the patients' place. Be kind,
considerate, caring, and informative. Get a "read" on
each patient individually. Can this person handle a
lot of information? Does this patient need more of my
time? Am I looking the patient in the eye while we
talk? Am I treating this patient with the respect I
would treat my own family member? Am I showing this
person that I truly care about them as an individual?

As far as the office staff is concerned, is there a
big turnover? Patients prefer that the staff remains
constant, so am I doing what I can to keep them happy
in their jobs? Are the staff members professional,
keeping patient information confidential? Do they make
sure that other patients don't overhear things they
shouldn't? Are they treating ALL the patients kindly?
Is the office, including patient rooms and the waiting
area, a pleasant place to be? Is everything CLEAN?
Would I like being a patient there myself?

As a teacher, I feel that my regular physician and I
turned a corner when he asked me for my thoughts on
public education vs. private education. Since then,
we've often had short conversations on education
during my appointment time. That alone, has made me
feel as though we are equals in my health process.

My surgeon and I have traveled down the road of
spirituality during his treating of my colon cancer
and subsequent surgeries. I feel as though I can talk
to him about anything. I've had nothing but confidence
and respect for him and what he does. He took the time
to talk to me at length while I was in the hospital
recovering from my surgeries. It made a big difference
when he pulled up a chair and sat next to my bed when
I asked him why he became a doctor. He gave me the
whole story, and that meant a lot to me.

The first oncologist I met with totally missed the
mark when she didn't look me in the eye and acted as
though telling people that they need to go through
chemo is a ten times a day occurrence (which it
probably is). She totally ignored the fact that I
would hopefully only hear that once in my life, and
that it needed to be discussed with grace and dignity.
That's why I had only one appointment with her.

I'm a rather inquisitive person, so I do not like to
feel rushed during an appointment or when a doctor
sees me while I'm a patient in the hospital. I usually
have questions and will keep going with them until I
understand things completely. I do NOT appreciate
being talked down to. I'm an intelligent woman and
expect to be treated as such.

Becoming a physician is quite an undertaking. It will
require you to be selfless with your time and energy,
and occasionally it's a thankless profession. However,
without a doubt, the rewards can be worth it.

I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors!


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