Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Doctors are Educators

Today I started my elective in Hematology Oncology, which I have a personal interest.  I think this field of medicine is extra delicate.  When most patients go see their primary care physician, it's considered preventative care or managing chronic illnesses.  However, if you have an appointment with a Heme/Onc it's  may be because a diagnostic test was abnormal and further investigation is needed. 

What's really concerning me about the doctor patient interaction is the lack of successful communication.  Communication is successful when the message intended is received and understood by the receiver.  I noticed in some cases of the underserved communities, some patients have no idea why they were referred to a specialist.  The were just told that their labs were abnormal and they need to see a specialist.  Just imagine the anxiety that could build from this form of communication.  The patient has very limited information. 

Today, I was interviewing a 62 year old Caribbean Afro male patient and he was under the impression that he was referred to this office because of the lingering pain from a object falling on his foot.  I thought to myself, "hmmm, I did not know this was a pain management office, too."  However, the truth of his situation was he had an increase in platelets which is called thrombocytosis; also, his hemoglobin and hematocrit were significantly elevated.  After the doctor explained this to him, he said he had never heard this before.

I love the way the doctor handle this. He explained to him the results and reassured him that he will received treatment for it. But, first more specific test were needed.  You should have seen the look on the patient's face, a sigh of relief, but confusion as well.  He was told that a "bone marrow aspiration" was needed.  The doctor excused himself from the exam room for a minute.  Then I asked the patient did he understand what he was talking about.  He said, "I have no idea. I guess this is why I have the pain?"  The doctor returned to the room and began to wrap up the visit and asked if there were any questions.  The patient said, "no." 

I'm learning that I have to, not only listen to what the patient says but, I must look at their body language, facial expression, etc.  This is all part of effective communication.  It was obvious that he did not understand one word the doctor was saying.  So, I interjected and said, "Actually, doctor Mr. X expressed to me that he was not sure of what a bone marrow aspiration was or why he needed it."

Communication is a huge part of effective patient care.  I am learning that I cannot only diagnosis and treat; but, I have to make sure those under my care understand and agree with the treatment.  After all, it is affecting them.

As you go through your day, interacting with others, pay attention to the nonverbal signs.  A lot of misunderstandings can be avoided by slowing down and really making sure the message intended was received and understood.

At the completion of this patient encounter, Mr. X thanked me and said, "we need more doctors like you."  Now, that's what this is all about...making a difference one patient at a time! Doctors are Educators....

Now, go live your dreams!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Will your DREAM BLOSSOM or will it die unfulfilled?

I received a message from one of my blog followers expressing her appreciation of this blog. 

"You are very inspiring and I know you will make a great doctor.  also want to deposit a small token because you have helped me restore confidence and faith in pursuing my vision of becoming a medical doctor. Thank you so much. I know God will finish what he started in you. Once you receive your medical degree and residency placement don't stop. This is just the beginning of the ministry and purpose God has planned for you. God bless and keep writing :) " I.U.

I really appreciate those kind words.  When I first began this journey, I came up against a lot of opposition from the so called "experts", that were suppose to be advising me on the possible path (s) I could take.  But, instead they tried to kill my dream.  So, out of angry and frustration, I began to write about my journey.  I knew if I could encourage, inspire and help people realize that the only walls left standing in your life are those that you chose not to tear down or break through.  

Yes, opposition will come, a lot of nay sayers will raise their head.  But, you as the carrier of the dream MUST know that the dream can either die unfilled or blossom with full manifestation.  I chose the later.  I chose to believe in me, my GOD, my support system and I did whatever needed to be done to make it happen.  During the early stages, my husband became terminally ill.  I chose to reorganize, restructure my plan verses giving up on my plan.  I switch to taking prerequisites at night so, that I was able to take him to every doctors appointment during the day.  While maintaining a loving and peaceful environment for my children at home.  I didn't have time to worry or even consider the walls that were before me.  I had to devise a plan to break through them and knock them down. 

We live in a big world with endless opportunities...I know the US is one of the most desired countries to live in...But, when I felt the doors were not opening up fast enough for me here...I branched out to see my options outside of US...and it was worth the venture.  Ross University School of Medicine on the Island of Dominica gave me my opportunity to manifest my dream.  After only 2 short years there, I returned to US to complete my clinical rotations.  Sometimes, you have to get outside your comfort zone.  Don't let the unknown hinder your pursuit.

My thoughts on this beautiful Sunday morning is, we as a people need each other.  We need to share our story, our triumphs, so those coming up behind us will know that they can make it, too.  No matter how big the dream, how far off it may seem...If you continue to go after that which is deeply rooted in your heart...a door...a way...a path WILL open up...if you do NOT give up!

I totally believe, "iron sharpens iron, as one man sharpens another."  Proverbs 27:17...

Now, Go live your dreams!