My nurse came out to me after she finished explaining instructions for a test to a patient.
Joan says thank you and then she says, "It’s so nice to be in a place where people listen and are nice."
I look at my nurse incredulously.
Reasons why Dr. Kressin would have an incredulous look after such a comment:
- As if to say, how else should we treat a patient?
- What else should the patient expect from a doctor, or another person for that matter?
- Where are these patients coming from since this is not the first time someone said so?
- How exactly are these patients treated in the outside world?
We are not patting ourselves in the back. I don’t think we treat one patient differently from the next. Granted, we do treat patients that have complicated, long-standing, and embarrassing issues. And there are days when I pray, "Please grant me the serenity to ..." But it’s just patient care. When did that change?
A fellow physician came up to me one day. I apparently had treated his wife.
You were the first person to let her talk without interrupting. She has been blown off before thinking that this is all in her head. Thank you.
In my field where we talk about private body functions, sensitive topics, and catch patients at their most vulnerable, there is little room for rudeness and arrogance. We, as physicians, should remember a basic rule in life. Just be nice.