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What Is a Doctor?

Published January 31, 2008 2:52 PM by Jennifer Ford

A January 27th article in the Sacramento Bee, titled "Inside Medicine: Our expectations of physicians vary widely," is written by a physician who explores the question, "What is the role of the doctor?"

The author asked a nonmedical audience what they wanted from medical care, and most of the responses reflected people's desire for someone to take time, listen, and care about them and their families. According to the article, the group said they wanted a physician who

  • Knows me and my family.
  • Is a good listener.
  • I can reach when I get sick – even on weekends.
  • Is working for me – not an insurance company or a hospital.
  • Cares. Treats me with dignity and respect.
  • Won't go home because their shift is over with my problem still unresolved.
  • Explains things so I can understand them.

The author was unnerved by the fact that no one stated that they wanted their physician to be the smartest or most expert. Perhaps what this physician didn't see is how important that listening, accessibility, and respect, integral to the nursing model of care, are to patients. Of course correct diagnosis and treatment is necessary, and it may be assumed, but what is noticeably lacking to the public is caring.

With this in mind, it's important to keep championing the cause of the nurse practitioner, who works on a holistic level, providing the same expert medical care as well as the education and caring that patients are asking for!


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