Having a good connection to your patient has a positive impact on your work in several different ways:
Connecting to a patient on a personal level helps you..
- to keep in mind that you are dealing with people, not with body parts or diagnoses.
- to remember other important information about him. (Your brain makes a connection)
- to have a lot more fun at work.
Everybody has had these shifts: in the ER, the ICU or on the ward: the phone won’t stop ringing, several red alarms at the same time and everybody calls your name and is mad, that you won’t show up.
Here is my eleven-step-strategy to stay on top of things – even when times get rough.
A couple of weeks ago I was on call in the ICU and I was called by a 2nd year resident. “Mr. Miller isn’t well and has desaturated repeatedly.”
How was I supposed to reply?
“Thank you for the information, good night.”
“I’ll take care of the problem, why don’t YOU go to bed.”
Obviously, the way this piece information was presented neither helped me, the patient or the poor guy on the other side of the phone.
When you wake up your boss during the middle of the night, you should be a little more prepared than someone, who calls 911.
So what can you do to make your boss happy at 3 AM in the morning. Let’s try these six steps:
In medicine skills are almost like a status symbol. Whether your colleagues will speak highly of you greatly depends on whether you are able to perform angiograms, ultrasound or other procedures.
But there is one skill that you don’t get much credit for, even though it is indispensable:
Ask ten fourth-year-students, what they rather want: a lesson of lung auscultation or to visit the cath lab? More than likely nine of them will choose the cath lab.
Let’s say you have a patient with dyspnea, who is admitted to the ICU. Many times before a thorough physical exam unexperienced doctors will suggest
- a CT scan to exclude pulmonary embolism or even
I just got back from a medical conference -THE- nephrology conference in the world: the ASN renal week. When I left San Diego, I left with mixed feelings.
On the one hand I was glad I went, because I got to present our data. On the other hand I was really disappointed of many sessions, many of them were a complete waste of time.
In my opinion medical conferences could soon be obsolete. And here is why.
Every other year, depending on my scientific efforts, I get to go to a conference abroad. Going to a conference is kinda like going to Disneyland: Countless things to do, but only very little time.
The opportunities there are overwhelming. There are
- numerous great presentations
- interesting topics
- amazing researchers
- great speakers you can get to know.Time is very sparse and it’s easy to lose focus. Many times I felt depressed because I felt I missed out on so many great things. To avoid this feeling, here are my 6 steps to getting the most out of your next conference.
On the ICU we get many interns and it is our responsibility to make sure they learn as much as possible. Before I let them see patients on their own or do any procedures I want to get to know them and get an impression on where they are in their career.
That’s why I ask a series of at least three questions:
Ask ten people in the hospital how to improve patient care and nine people will more than likely tell you: more staff, more nurses and definitely: more doctors.
I’m not sure whether this is true.
The nurses made fun of me the other day because I wrote down my patient’s favorite soccer club in the chart. “Patient is a fan of Fenerbahce Istanbul, while his best friend cheers for Galatasaray“ I filled in social history part of the digital chart.
I didn’t have a deeper intention when I did, but I noted I had conversations with four different nurses on the patient’s background, his interests and his life.
1. He cared, so I cared.
The first question the patient asked me, (after admission to the ICU!) was whether I could look up the latest soccer results of the turkish soccer league. It seemed to matter to him and played a more important role than the job he had for many years.
2. A deeper connection.
It aroused the attention of the nurses in the patient (and mine to). If that’s what it takes to get myself and the nurses interested in a patient and thus make a personal and maybe even an emotional connection with the patient possible: I’m in.
3. A goal to work towards.
Let’s say the nurses and doctors know more about the patient. Let’s say the patient has a cat, he walks once a day, or he has a rose garden he needs to take care of: Now the doctors and nurses have a more concrete goal to work towards. The goal changed from „Let’s make him healthy again“. Instead it is: “Let’s do everything, so he can take care of his rose garden.”
4. The patient will like you more.
Sympathy is the foundation of trust. Patients, who like their doctors will trust them more and adhere to treatment plans more.
And by the way, he will find you way more interesting, too.
From now on I’m going to ask for the patient’s hobbies, their favorite TV show and the name of their hamster and document it. Let the show begin and stay tuned for some fun stuff.
Nurses and doctors, who connect on some other level with their patients for the least have more fun at work. Probably they make a better performance, too. (No statistic available, sorry)
There is one app that I use every day at work. In this video I share how. By the way: it’s free.