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5 Traits Patients Want Their Doctors to Have

Session 76

Session 76

Back in Session 62, Allison talked about how it was being a patient after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Now it’s Ryan’s turn to take the patient’s seat being diagnosed with a lesion in his spinal cord.

In today’s episode, Ryan and Allison share some lessons they’ve learned which they hope to pass on to you as you go through your premedical or medical education so you can hold on to them once you’re practicing.

Ryan and Allison have put together 5 traits that make a good physician (from a patient’s point of view).

  1. Don’t be negligent.

  • Besides the fact that you can be sued for this, it could be disastrous for the patient.
  • Always get back to a patient especially when you need to read some findings.
  1. Look at each patient as a person, not a number.

  • Use data to try to drive how to treat patients but patients are people and every case is different.
  • Treat each one individually as a human being and not as a number or case.
  • Cater to their individual needs and concerns.
  • Be willing to understand the research but deviate from it when needed or when a patient is different.
  1. Just be straightforward.

  • Level with people. Remove the doctor-patient divide.
  • Do not condescend and talk down to people.
  1. Be mindful of the stress and chaos going through your patients.

Be aware that what you do everyday is normal for you, not for the patient. Typically, they’re in a state of chaos as benign as it may be. So you need to disperse the information to them and at the same time reflect on what they’re going through. Patients can easily google things but explain certain terminologies to them to give them security and a better understanding.

  1. Integrate clinical knowledge with research knowledge.

Even if you’re a research-based physician, remember that you are healer and you need to embody that when you’re seeing patients. Change your mindset when you go to the office and you’re with a patient.

The SOAP acronym when taking notes:

Subjective (Patient history)

Objective (Physical exam)

Assessment (Differential diagnosis)

Plan (What you’re going to do about it)

Ryan and Allison modified the SOAP acronym when taking notes into SOAPIER:

Subjective

Objective

Assessment

Plan

Intimate

Empathy

Reflect

In the end, as Ryan was walking out the door his neurologist took 5 seconds to put her hand on his arm and tell him that’s he’s going to be okay and that made all the difference to him as a patient. Ultimately, just be a person.

Links and Other Resources:

Session 062: Allison’s Story – When the Doctor Becomes the Patient

Session 056: Taking Care of Patients in Today’s Electronic World

Session 050: 16 Golden Rules of Medicine

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