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Take Me Seriously

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When I was a medical registrar, I was sent from Lismore Hospital to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle to learn more about dialysis.
I spent a session sitting in with the urological surgeon in the renal transplant outpatients.
The surgeon examined the first patient, who was one month post-op.
“Your scar is excellent”, he said. What he said next took me by surprise.
“You clearly have looked after that extremely well. Thank you”.
The patient was chuffed.
As the morning went on, he complimented each patient on the way they were caring for themselves.

What makes us behave the way that we do?

Hunger? Power? Sex? Love?

Hugh Mackay says our strongest drive is the desire to be taken seriously by others.

His new book is entitled What makes us tick? The ten desires that drive us. He discussed it on ABC Radio National’s Lifematters recently.

I think that that there are two reasons why this is relevant to us as we try to improve our practice of medicine.

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Our team

Many studies have show that the people who are dissatisfied with their employment feel this way because they consider that their role is not valued.

Do we acknowledge the people who work with us? Do we pay attention to their concerns? Do they feel that their role is valued? Do we ask for their opinion and ideas?

Our Flock

One thing we offer to our patients is to consider them important – and to take their concerns seriously.

Our patients are often anxious, can lead quite disorganised lives, and be lacking in resources. They may be powerless at work and mistreated in their personal relationships. They may have fears based on past experiences that we are unaware of.

Yet when they come to the doctors, they are on an equal footing with everyone else. And we must remember that our team needs to treat them with respect and acknowledge their concerns as important.

Do we manage to treat all our patients as ‘VIPs’ – very important patients?

buy topamax “What do we need to make sure we cover in this consultation today? What is important to you”

Maybe that is one of our most effective therapeutic modalities – to be the one place where everyone is taken seriously!

I have often thought about the transplant surgeon at John Hunter Hospital, and the wisdom he showed in attributing success to his patients rather than claiming it for himself.
In managing a long term condition (like renal disease), a key determinant of outcome is how confident the patient is in managing their own health. They are the ones who ultimately control the outcome, and it is our role to partner with them to make that possible. So indeed they are all VIPs.

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