Sometimes I sit down to type this blog and thoughts roll right off my fingertips, other times I struggle to think of things to write. For the most part this blog isn’t original thought, instead it’s my thoughts of someone elses thoughts and today’s blog is just that.
Dr. Tim Blackburn shared the above quote with me a few months ago and I’ve been keeping it in reserve. I’ve thought a lot about it since he sent it and I’ve come to realize that I believed it before I’d ever read it.
Dr. Blackburn is a great example of how the quote applies to our world. He’s obviously a smart guy, he’s a Cardiologist. He’s had extensive schooling, specialty training and years of practice and experience to hone his craft and he’s good at what he does.
One day I saw Dr. Blackburn pushing an elderly woman down the hallway in a wheelchair and as I met the two of them near the front entrance I stopped to greet them. I asked what the two of them were doing and he told me that the next patient on his schedule was running late, the nurses in the clinic were busy so he decided to escort the patient out to her car.
I was impressed and appreciative of his service and I even sent him a handwritten note thanking him for his great customer service. He was very modest in his acceptance of praise but I felt it was worth sharing with him my appreciation.
At church, a few weeks later, I saw the patient he was assisting in the hallway that day and I stopped to talk with her and I asked how she was doing. She told me that she was doing well and she mentioned Dr. Blackburn and her recent visit to the Cardiology Clinic. You know what she said to me….she said “he was such a kind man, he took me out to my car after my appointment”.
I don’t visit a Cardiologist very often but I’m going to guess that when a person does there’s some pretty serious stuff that goes on between the patient and the physician. After all, the heart is a pretty vital organ. I know this patient well enough to know that she has a complicated medical history and that she is a compliant patient so I’m confident she was engaged in her care and had questions about how she could better manage her condition. From her appearance that day in church I could tell that she’s better and her condition improved but the interaction about her health wasn’t what was most important to her. What was most important to her was that “her doctor” cared enough to escort her to her car.
I’ve seen this very thing over and over again in my career. I have a clinical background, I’m a Physical Therapist, it’s been a long time since I actually cared for a patient but I used to do it every day. I witnessed a lot of smart, talented PT’s struggle to achieve as good of outcomes with patients as some of the lesser trained PT’s. I’ve; also seen it on inpatient units where the patient attributes their positive outcome to the CNA providing care as opposed to the RN passing meds and performing interventions. Those who excel tend to form strong bonds and a degree of trust with their patients, in essence their patients know they care.
No matter our role, we have the ability to help everyone we interact with understand that we care. Once they understand how much we care we can better use what we know to help them improve their health.