When a doctor becomes a patient

Dr. Bagley recently shared an article with me that really caused me to think about the care we provide at GVMH.  The article was written by a physician who was injured in a horse riding accident.  The physician became the patient and saw care from the receiver end as opposed to the provider end.  Here’s a link to the article if you’re interested – http://blogs.aafp.org/cfr/leadervoices/entry/what_happens_when_a_doctor?cmpid=10036-em-1

What became apparent to this physician is how poor communication is between providers and how inefficient processes can be when you know how efficient they could be.  Because this physician knew how things “could” or “should” work, he had a different perspective than most patients. 

Fortunately I haven’t had to spend any time in a hospital as a patient and I don’t believe I’d be a good patient.  I believe I would be very demanding as a patient because I know how things “should” work.  Or maybe I would be an easy patient because I would be sympathetic of all the flaws and inefficiencies in the system.  Who knows and I really don’t care to find out any time soon.

The physician who wrote the article suggests that all doctors and nurses should spend some time as a patient so they can help fix the system.  I don’t necessarily agree.  I do believe all of us should treat our patients how we would want to be treated if we were a patient.

All of us know that some delays are avoidable.  All of us know that we handle waiting better when we’re kept informed.  All of us know that we prefer someone to ask if we need something rather than for us to have to ask for something.  All of us know that we want our privacy respected.  All of us know that we want our pain controlled.  All of us know that it’s easier to explain our problems when someone takes the time to listen.  All of us know that when we’re hungry we want to eat and when we’re tired we want to sleep.

All of us know what dignity, respect and empathy look like – we just need to make sure our patients see it!

About Craig Thompson

I am a young professional with two great sons, and I work in the healthcare setting. I am employed in hospital administration and serve as Chief Executive Officer at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton, Missouri. At GVMH we care for our families, friends and neighbors. We're committed to providing the safest, friendliest and most compassionate care to all we serve.
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