Practice What You Preach
Before I started my nurse practitioner program I was happy
where I was in regards to my health. I was at a great weight, my diet had been
free of any processed sugars and grains, and I was working out several times a
By the time I started clinicals in my primary care site I
felt like a hypocrite. I had not been to see my PCP in 2 years, my gyn in 3,
but I was up-to-date on my dental visits! My diet was filled with on-the-go bad
choices, my full time job was now a work at home position, the gym was a foreign
place and my weight was creeping up and up and up.
I am a determined person. I have completed 3 marathons, a
half marathon and countless 5Ks but time was against any motivation that I had.
There clearly were not enough hours in the day.
So each day that I was telling people how to make healthy
lifestyle changes, reduce their stress and take hold of preventative medicine,
I felt like I was definitely not practicing what I was preaching. Even so, I
sold it with determination and many patients were making wonderful changes.
Now that I work in urgent care, 95% of the time I feel less
like I have to worry about being in disguise. I do however spend 5 hours a week
in primary care and therefore again began having feelings of guilt. I decided
to get off of my high horse and make some dreaded appointments.
Off to the lab for yearly blood work, appointment set for my
yearly gyn exam and appointment made to discuss blood work and have a physical.
I understand that no one truly likes having to go in for these routine
appointments. I dread the discussion about my increase in weight and what my
thoughts are about this.
I truly try to make my patients' experiences with me in
primary care a positive experience. I have compassion for schedules, costs and
decisions that are made around healthcare. I will be the first to admit that I
am proud of my patients who follow through.
I had a patient who had not been to the PCP in 3 years. She
too was worried that she would be berated about her obesity and was quite
anxious about this. We had a wonderful discussion about her life in general and
her goals and whether they were realistic or not. I encouraged her to make her
appointment with her GYN, her mammogram and of course sent her for her blood
work. When I called her to let her know she was severely Vitamin D deficient
and how we would work on correcting it, she excitingly told me that evening she
was off to have her mammogram completed and that her GYN appointment was
scheduled. I felt like a proud parent and praised her for her follow through.
My primary care preceptor in school was amazing. She took
the time to talk with her patients in a comforting and holistic manner. She
spent her lunch hour eating while returning patient phone calls which I found
to be truly dedicated. In the end you saw the results in patients who followed
through and came to their appointments.
I understand that practices are busy and that this may not
be productive for many but am curious to know how many of you are in primary
care and call your patients? Do you find that this is adjunct in your care of
your patients or do you find that this opens up other issues?