— Bill Bullard (via panatmansam)
Anonymous said: I find myself not caring about people's emotional problems or "doctoring" (ask someone about their feelings!). I just don't care. I'd rather treat the problem than the patient? I don't view THEM as the problem, but their disease. When i go to the doctor, I would be pissed if they ask me about my boyfriend instead of whatever i'm presenting for (cold, flu, etc.) Is this burnout or should i apply for a pathology residency in 3 years?
If you deny that there’s a human element to disease you will treat the disease in the wrong way.
If you fail to account for how someone’s depression if affecting them, you may fail to realize how they’re more likely to not recover after surgery because they won’t do the PT.
If you fail to even address that the patient’s social situation prevents them from getting access to their medicine, writing them a script for antibiotics does not fix the problem.
I’m not a big touchy-feely person in medicine either. I’m efficient. I want to treat the problem. I don’t want to sit down and talk to patients about their cats for an hour. I want to treat their asthma. BUT you do not treat disease in isolation. You do not treat disease in a lab. You treat disease in a human being.
And when I talk to patients, If I fail to talk to the patient long enough to recognize that they have cats—I’ve missed an important trigger for their asthma. And if I just tell them “you have to ditch the cats because they’re causing your flares”, I haven’t helped the patient because the cats are important. If I take an extra couple of minutes and discuss how we can manage their asthma and help them keep the cats in different areas of the house or vacuuming more frequently to decrease the allergens.
Patients aren’t machines. You can’t fix parts—you have to address the gestalt.
There’s a reason they call medicine both an art AND a science. You can’t do it without BOTH parts of it.
Different types of medicine deal with this at different levels. Obviously a psychiatrist spends more time talking to patients than a surgeon—but if a surgeon fails to ever talk to their patients they do their patients a disservice.
You can’t do medicine without the human element. Period.
I’m not saying you have to spend tons of time talking to patients about every little thing if that’s not your style in medicine. BUT you have to at least recognize the intersection between someone’s emotions and their medical problems—you have to address the crosspoint.
"Who cooked the Last Supper?: The Women’s History of the World"- Rosalind Miles (via fyeahnursingthings)