Working in healthcare?

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
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David Gutowski
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Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:14 am
Location: Ft.Mohave Arizona

Re: Working in healthcare?

Post by David Gutowski » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:53 am

BellyDoc wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:28 am
razz wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:34 pm
I'm involved in a project about people that work in heath care and also play and or perform music.

If you work in health care, please send me a sentence or two about why you chose your line of work or why you continue.

If you can offer a story about your work, please type it.

I would like to hear from you even if your work, in a health care facility, does not directly involve patient management. (HVAC, courier, parking, IT, etc., please add your input)

As always, thanks for your help.
You're going to get more than a sentence or two...

I went into the field of medicine because I had the sense that it was an endeavor that utilized a broad range of skills that could be brought to bear all at the same time in the service of people when they needed help the most. Although I will still say that I was correct in those assessments, I would have to also say that I really had NO CLUE what I was getting into at the time, and furthermore, that I wasn't even equipped to articulate better questions so that I could understand more.

Medical training is a transformational experience. Change is difficult and painful. For me, it's been a positive transformation but not everyone has the same experience. What drew me into medicine was fantasy. What happened after that was that I grew up. What keeps me here is that the man I became is the right fit for the work, and the work is the right fit for the man.

What I do is part detective work, part science, and part art. There's really nothing else I can compare to by way of an analogy to explain the feelings without also feeling like I'm selling it short. The sense of honor in being entrusted, moments of human connection when "patients" are just "people", the satisfaction of successful diagnosis and intervention, pride in accomplishment, flashes of insight, and even lucky moments of serendipitous discovery are my rewards. They balance against the failed connections, the untreatable pain, and the dread of those cases that will ultimately go wrong even when everything goes right. They balance just enough to keep me going.

Every patient is a story, and every story is worth telling and remembering. I can't in good conscience pick one patient's story and just tell it like it's a "this guy walks into a bar" joke because it feels like that de-humanizes all the other worthy stories. Instead, let me tell you a story my father told me. He was also a doctor and this story carries a lesson about doctoring.

My father described a day as an intern when he was doing assessments in the ER. In one room, he visited with an elderly couple. The husband was in bad shape. He had apparently just had a major stroke and was unable to communicate or move, the man was critically ill and clearly dying. My father and others had evaluated the patient and there wasn't anything they could do. The wife was distracted with grief and had a hard time absorbing the information. My father, as the intern, was left to tend to her and answer her questions (over and over) as she grappled with this terminal situation. The patient soon passed away, and my father worked to comfort the distraught wife with little sense of effect. Soon, he was replaced by clergy, left the room, collected himself and moved on to his next assigned patient. In the next room, he was assigned to an otherwise healthy young man who had cut his hand on broken glass, accompanied by his mother. The mother was very agitated, perhaps in a bit of panic state. Dad described how she was talking with pressured speech, asking questions and not letting him answer, interfering with him while he was trying to examine the wound, and generally inhibiting care. He became angry with her and according to him, he "had words" with her to get her to stop. Now... I knew my father... and I'm guessing that this meant he turned to her, did his STARE and said, "PLEASE." and she went silent. It always worked on me, so that's how I imagine it. He sutured up the young man and then afterward he was discussing the cases with his supervisor. He described how angry he felt with this mother torturing him while he was trying to take care of the boy, and how he wanted to turn to her in anger and yell that in the next room, a man had just DIED leaving his wife alone in the world and if anyone deserved to be in a bad state it was THAT woman! His supervisor replied, "You can't carry baggage from one bedside to the next. She's just being a normal mother."

You can't carry baggage from one bedside to the next...

I didn't really understand that till I was an intern myself. It's normal and human to judge, categorize, and otherwise carry preconceptions about people based on how they look, act, speak or even smell. We're hardwired to recognize patterns in the world and anticipate the future based on the past. However, as a doctor, I have to do better than that. I have to differentiate between what I know and what I think. My impressions about people may be affected by my past experiences, but everyone needs to start with a clean slate. The more I examine it, the more I realize how much baggage I really do carry from bedside to bedside, and how much of a burden it places on my process. Honestly, I don't know that it can be completely eliminated. I work to minimize it, accept that it's a potential source of flaws in my understanding, and factor that in to my thinking when it affects outcome.

You see, being a doctor isn't about attaining that highest performance status - it's about striving for it. "Primum non nocere", above all else, do no harm. Its a commitment to an iterated process of self reflection and improvement in service to the needs of others. The balance of plusses and minuses in the field of medicine will always be heavy on both sides. It's the opposite of a simple balance equation! However, if I keep this basic faith, it'll always be net positive for me.
I think one of the main rewards of your job is knowing you have helped people and at the end of the day you leave with a sense of pride In what you've accomplished for the day. And you can see and know you did accomplish something; you were successful, maybe not always and I know nothing is perfect, but overall you delivered a high degree of service and know you had success and are proud of yourself.

That being said, consider for a moment a job where you don't go home with a sense of accomplishment. You worked all day struggling against an unseen enemy and never felt like you made an inch of progress and you go back to your job the next day and do it all over again with the same results day in and day out. And when there is progress it is so small you wonder it your efforts were worth it in the first place. The unseen enemy being a force of will you fight against every day: a special ed student who refuses to sit in his/her seat and finds glee in being disobedient and disruptive and you know you have to deal with it in hopes of making progress.

You have to work with the child, along with many others in class who are just as defiant, and hope you can break through to them and teach them it's better to follow directions and try to accomplish some learning so they can improve and maybe be successful in life. But you fight this force that's in the student and this force is relentless and wants to win so it can develop this child into a future that is bleak and basically meaningless, never reaching any kind of inner potential. There is no harder job on this earth where you're under assault everyday, under attack because you want a child to improve and they want just the opposite...and you would expect that from a twelve year old child, but when you go home there is no good feeling that you've accomplished something or made much progress. And you know you're alone. Parents don't want the child kicked out of school and the admin tells you, you just have to deal with it. And you do. But that kind of job shows virtually very little progress you can claim your own or see or feel good about...a thankless, no one cares kind of job with no glory, no money and no fame.

And there in lies the reward. You're scared, you're battered emotionally and physically but you know you really did accomplish something. You accomplished a task few other people would attempt, and at the end of-not the day-but forty years, you look back and wish you had another forty years to give to those children who needed you so desperately to help them because they could never help themselves.

God, I do love this forum!

3 hard things for humans to do: dentist visit, public speaking, offering forgiveness.


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