Anyone who has ever had a bad experience with a medical professional understands how much of an impact it can have. I had a terrible experience when I lived in out East. I was in for a regular check-up type visit, but the doctor was rude, made massive assumptions about the type of person I was and about my medical history, and was overly condescending. I left the office in tears, but not because of any bad medical news, I was healthy-as-ever, but instead because I’d never felt so judged and personally offended by a doctor.
I think largely because of that awful visit, I have come to greatly appreciate more positive experiences. Last week I was in for check-up. My doctor took her time with me, let me share with her instead of launching into questions and assumptions and guided the conversation accordingly. Additionally, she gave me some great general life advice from her own marriage-and-medicine perspective. I left the office feeling good, not just about my health but about the prospects for receiving a positive experience in healthcare.
The doctor-patient relationship is intimate in a way that so few jobs are. As I’m seeing B go through his day to day now working through rotations, I hope he holds in top of mind the impact of his interactions. I know that medicine can eventually become just a job like any other, but there is often so much more at stake.