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.
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." -Sir Isaac Newton
Armin Hanika 56PF