As physicians and healthcare professionals, our focus is always on the patient: their health, their safety and their experience during their time with us. There are a few things we wish we could tell them about what we do, and, more importantly, about what we do for them.
Here are 11 things all physicians and healthcare professionals wish patients knew:
- We don’t want to be late.
We’re humans, too, so, yes, sometimes we are late because of kids and dogs and our own health. But this isn’t usually the case. Usually, the reason we are late getting to patients is because we are caring for another patient. As physicians and healthcare professionals, we want to make sure that each patient is given the personal attention they deserve, and sometimes this personal attention takes longer than the 15- or 30-minute appointment times.
- We have their best interest in mind.
When trying to diagnose a patient, we know they feel like we’re holding out on them or neglecting tests that they think they need. We have their best interest in mind and will not require them to undergo any tests or procedures that we don’t think they need. We would never skip a test or procedure if we thought a patient would benefit from it.
- Running a medical practice isn’t easy.
In fact, working in any sector of healthcare isn’t easy. It’s expensive and tiring and emotionally taxing. The hours are long. But at the end of the day, we do what we do for the patients.
- We do care.
The pain they’re having, the illness they’re fighting through, the medications they can’t afford—we do care. No matter how busy or distracted we might seem, we do care.
- We don’t clock out.
This isn’t an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job. Patients would be surprised by the amount of hours we put in every day, even on weekends.
- We do fight for them.
Even when we call patients to deliver the bad news that their medication or procedure isn’t covered by insurance, this doesn’t mean that we haven’t fought tooth and nail with these companies first.
- We can’t lie for them.
Although we want to help patients in any way we can, we have integrity. We can’t lie on paperwork or about prescriptions or help them get time off work.
- The sun really is that bad.
Forget the risk of wrinkles. Staying out of the sun has become a life or death situation, and with the risk or melanoma on the rise every year, we can’t emphasize any more how important it is to stay out of the sun. And please no tanning beds.
- Patients play a role in their health care team.
We value the physician-patient relationship, and the more we work together and communicate openly and honestly, the better we will be able to provide treatment.
- Beware of biased information.
Just like in every other industry, there are ads and spokespeople that physicians wish patients wouldn’t listen to. If they ever have any questions about what’s true and what’s false, we wish they’d talk to us first.
- Know your body.
Unless a patient has only gone to one physician their entire life, chances are, they have medical information in a variety of places. We want patients to be literate in their own health histories and what’s going on with their bodies, and make sure their current physician is aware of all of this.
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