Recently, I got the official word from my doctor (Gastroenterologists) that he is retiring. I had heard some talk of it at a conference that I attended a few months ago, I was hopeful it was just hear say. My first response when I heard about it was, “Nooooooo, my doctor is leaving me!” The one who visited my bedside when I was fighting for my life, who finally helped get me into remission after years of sickness, procedures, and surgery. However, it gave me an opportunity to really think about what this means for me and the future of my healthcare. I started to realize there are some important qualities I want in my doctor.

  • I want someone who looks me in the eyes and smiles when they enter the room. 
  • Who asks me what I’ve been up to and how my morning’s been?
  • Uses words that I can understand. 
  • Makes sure I don’t have any questions before they leave the room. 
  • Pays attention to me and not just the computer. 
  • Honest when they don’t know the answer. 
  • Offers to research something for me that I am interested in trying. 
  • Invites me to make my own calls about the direction I want my treatment to go in.
  • Truly gives me options and ultimately passes no judgement on me for my decisions.
  • Gives me honest feedback. 
  • Can get on to me when I need to be gotten on to, but in a nice way of course. 
  • Calls and checks in on me when I’m not well, even if it’s their nurse.
  • Makes me feel like I’m the only patient there for those few minutes they spend with me. 
  • I want to see that their staff respects, admires, and listens to them and I want them to treat their staff the same way.
  • It doesn’t matter to me where they went to school or how many awards they have received.
  • What truly matters to me is that they care about me and doing what is best.

Wait a minute! I can’t expect all this from a doctor and not give anything in return. So a better question I should be asking myself is

WHAT KIND OF PATIENT DO I WANT TO BE?

  • I want to be the kind of patient who smiles when you enter the room, even if I don’t feel good. 
  • I want to put my phone down and pay attention to everyone in your office.
  • I want to be kind to all of your staff.
  • I want to be the patient who asks good questions.
  • I want to be the patient who listens to your recommendations. 
  • I want to be the patient who tells you everything that’s wrong. I’ve been known to leave somethings out and I know some of you can relate.
  • I want to be the patient that tells the staff if I see an area that needs attention, not to complain about it on social media. 
  • I want to still have a good attitude if I wait too long, because I know it’s because someone else needed a little extra attention from you that day. 
  • I want to pray for my doctor and be a light to their day no matter what I’m battling.

It’s been humbling to work alongside many healthcare providers over the years through a pharmacy, in a doctors office, and now working with medical equipment.  I have seen many sacrifices made by dedicated doctors and staff. Many who continuously go above and beyond to find answers and figure out the best treatment plan for their patients. I’ve seen examples of wonderful community involvement, teaching and giving to others without question. I’ve seen them consoling grieving staff members in between patients and customers. I feel like I can speak from experience when I have walked away from a cheerful kind patient and customer, they make a great impression on the doctor, staff, and facility that’s not forgotten.

You know doctors are people just like me and you, they have tough days. They have awesome things to celebrate in life too – like retirement! Just something to think about…A doctor can’t treat what they don’t know about, they can’t recommend without knowing the struggle. They can’t listen if you don’t share. Don’t look for an excuse to be a bad patient. Be a good one and you will see a difference!

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