Doctors Are People Too

It always makes me smile when I walk into a doctors’ waiting room and find everyone sitting in nervous silence. I find myself wanting to shout “Hey! it’s okay, the doctor won’t bite” but instead I usually end up talking about something mundane like the weather. Anything to break that awful tension in the room.

I’ve never been able to understand why people treat doctors with such reverence. Yes, they are highly qualified professionals who are deserving of our respect but they are also real people who in the main, enjoy having a good rapport with their patients. Think about it – if you had a job where everyone who came to see you was so petrified that they could barely speak, you’d soon tire of having to reassure them before making any progress. A visit to a doctor can be an intimidating experience but only if the patient allows this to happen. I’ve always found it useful to employ humour when appropriate. It’s a great tool for breaking down barriers and getting to the point. It’s important to establish a 2-way conversation so that the consultation is a shared process. Remember, your doctor learns a great deal from what you tell them. If something is said to me that doesn’t quite make sense, I will always question it and if necessary, argue the point. I find that doctors respect when you take an interest and work with them to find the best way forward. The patients who sit in terrified silence throughout a consultation, are really missing out. Of course, bad news is never easy for anyone involved but if a good rapport has been established, then it’s likely to be a little easier to digest.

Doctors are real people with real lives just like you and I. Most of them are under huge day to day pressure, with their busy working lives constantly vying for more time at the cost of their personal lives. They do make mistakes sometimes but they’re only human after all. Show them you care and they’ll respect you for it.

One of the many joys of blogging for me has been the discovery of some great medical blogs written by doctors, nurses and medical students. My favourite ones are on my blogroll where you’ll find medics writing and sharing their everyday lives with anyone who cares to join in. It’s good to see patients, like myself, join the debate as I believe that we have a lot to learn from one another, for the benefit of all.

I’ll finish here by saying that there’s a new blogger on the block who’s making waves with great ideas to sort out the mess within the HSE. Dr. Jane Doe has joined the team of Irish doctors and nurses over at Two Weeks on a Trolley, and she makes for very interesting reading. Our Minister for Health would do well to take note.

10 Responses to Doctors Are People Too

  1. Grannymar says:

    Steph

    I agree wholeheartedly with you. If we sit cowering how can the Doctor know what is wrong with us? They may spend years studying but they are not physic. We need to tell them our symptoms – All of them.

    I find it easier to remember if I write them down, not an essay but in list form eg

    Pain …. That way I can tell her what the pain level is like and where it is- head, chest, legs etc,
    Medication… What I need replacing and any problems I have with them.
    Toyboys… I have been known to mention them. As Steph says Doctors are human so I like to finish up with something to make my GP smile.

  2. Steph says:

    GM – you wanna be careful what you tell your GP about your Toyboys…

    She might think you’re having hallucinations and section you for treatment 😆

  3. Grannymar says:

    My GP has been known to ask ” And what about the toyboys?!

  4. Steph says:

    GM – your GP sounds great, Just like a real person!

  5. acountrydoctorwrites says:

    I agree completely with your comment about how important is is to have a two-way conversation. Particulartly the word “conversation” describes a healthy doctor-patient relationship. I am new to reading and writing blogs, but I have already found a lot of unhealthy ranting by physicians about patients and vice versa. Sometimes being a doctor in the role of patient can be illuminating. You may find my recent entry amusing:
    http://acountrydoctorwrites.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/the-doctors-doctor/

  6. Steph says:

    Thanks! Countrydoc and Welcome!

    You’re quite right about there being too many blogs where both patients and doctors engage in unhelpful ranting and raving. Blogging is an ideal forum for sharing people’s experience of illness (from both the patient and the doctors’ perspective) as well as for the educational merit.

    I shall pop over to your blog from time to time to see what’s going on in the country. Thanks for the link btw I enjoyed a good rummage around 🙂

  7. Mike says:

    Steph
    I’ll have to have words with GM. Has she told the GP about the badges…and I thought I was the only one!

  8. Baino says:

    True that although I don’t really have a ‘family’ doctor with whom to establish a strong rapport although the fellow I see when I need a cert for a cold or something is nice enough. I do however often have a problem with the bloody receptionists. We have a cardiologist in our building with about three snooty receptionists who barely pay lip service if they pass you in the corridor! (they work for Doctors you know and dont have to be pleasant!). The cardios on the other hand are quite lovely! I regard Doctors as human mechanics generally and I have a superb relationship with my mechanic!

  9. Roy says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!……..don’t you see?

  10. Steph says:

    Baino – you’re spot on with your “Docs are human mechanics” attitude. That’s exactly my point here. Doctors are ordinary souls just like the rest of society. They are highly trained (and well paid) and they work extremely hard but that doesn’t make them Gods! When I consult a doctor, I expect to receive a good service in the same way that I would when seeking advice on anything non-medical. There are bad eggs in every profession and doctors are no exception. I’ve hit very lucky over the years with one or two exceptions but as the saying goes – “different horses for different courses”.

    Roy – NOOOOOO! I don’t see but you’ve left me wondering if this has anything to do with the fact that men of a certain age need a regular prostate check which makes trips to the doc a little uneasy? 😆

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