"Treat Every Patient As A Relative" were some words of advice we received today. Our group was having tea and casual conversation after doing some rounds with our groups Rheumatology doctor when she gave us this advice. We all agreed and then a student in our group then asked about an earlier incident where an older patient came into the doctors area and was asking questions. The patient didn’t seem to startle anyone, however our group was slightly surprised because in the U.S it would be rare to have such free access to the doctors.
Other doctors have mentioned personal relationships with patients during our trip. When our group was on the GI Inpatient floor during a lecture the doctor mentioned that psychology and helping patients overcome emotional issues is important for GI diseases like IBS, where emotions can be the cause of the syndrome or simply exacerbate the syndrome. He said the doctors all have to take that into account.
In our school, PCOM, I feel like this is emphasized by some teachers and many of us are on the same page. But it was different for us to hear this type of message in a busy hospital. Each of the doctors mentioned above oversees about 20 patients on their floor at a time. So it’s not like they are hanging out with patients for a long time. But it seems the warmth and support they advocate is conveyed in small but noticeable ways: a gentle tap here or there, a few friendly words of exchange , etc. At least that’s what I’ve noticed. In general it seems the borders between patient and doctor seem slightly less rigid than in the U.S. But what I like about it is that warmth and peace are conveyed with small messages. The doctor’s mentioned intend to be nice and don’t feel they need to compensate for other areas of the health field where the experience might be different. Therefore it seems they do this without any over the top and/or manic attempts to pamper the patient. But that’s just my personal opinion based on differences I’ve noticed. I’ve only been here two weeks, so take my opinions with a grain of salt because I have hardly any experience here.
Again, it’s not that everyone walks around with a smiley face :), not at all, but there is a way that some doctors go about their business that I respect. When we were in the eye acupuncture outpatient clinic the doctor probably had seen 20 patients before we got there and another 30 or so after we arrived. Besides his patients he had his interns hovering around him, our group as well, plus another group of American students. We were on all sides of him. But he worked fluidly and calmly without seeming agitated by all the people. I feel that a few doctors we’ve met have had this type of demeanor. I appreciate these things. Again, I’m not trying to create a naive image of a place where no one gets flustered and is always nice (not at all), I just wanted to point out some positive things I’ve noticed.
On the flip side, there are things I like better at American hospitals. In my opinion, rigid rules can be beneficial when it comes to some things like smoking in the hospital or outside of it. - DH