Will You Be My Forever Patient?
My entire life, relationships have always been a struggle. Growing
up as a child of the Army I learned to go into defense mode when it came to
friendships. You knew that as soon as you became BFFs with another kid, someone
was about to move to another state or country.
My entire career in medicine has been built around short-term patient
relationships. In the ER you may have several hours with a patient, but more
often than not they are in and out. Urgent care has been the same story with
even shorter time frames. Yes, you do see some patients again, but they are not
coming in for long term care. Now that I am a practitioner I focus on making
the time I have with my patient the most pleasant and memorable, hoping that if
they need me in the future they will come based on their past experience.
When I spent 6 months in my primary care clinical I saw a
completely different side to patient care: longer relationships between the
provider and patient. I have to say it was a nice change. I was able to see how
patients trusted my preceptor and how the preceptor was truly able to
incorporate the holistic care model.
It was not just about the medical problem but also involved asking
about home life, work and other happenings. It felt less like an informal
office visit and more like a caring one on one conversation with the added
benefit of a physical exam.
I wonder if I am at a point of my life that I want extended
relationships in my career. It was definitely a consideration as I looked
towards where to settle as an APRN. I now have the opportunity to work part
time in a primary care office in my own community. It would allow me to build
up a patient load and follow them and build those relationships. It is in the
early works but something that would allow me to dip my feet in the waters
before jumping straight in.
As we start off 2014 I want to think less about resolutions and
more about redefinition. I hope to continue to develop as a practitioner and
truly take in anything and everything that I can that will allow me to continue
to provide consistent and compassionate care. I also want to redefine my own
health and happiness within myself in order to be able to relay that same
feeling towards my patients. I encourage you to think about how you want to
“redefine you in 2014”.