The number one way to be a better doctor.

When I was 16, I went to the doctor after sustaining a knee injury during a summer basketball game. As soon as it happened, I knew something was not right. My parents took me to the emergency room,  and I told them exactly what happened, “I was running down the court, then I planted my foot, and suddenly I heard a pop, like opening a soda can. After that I had the feeling that my kneecap moved out of place, and my leg feels like it will bend backwards.”

I think they took an x-ray and did a few tests, put me in an immobilization brace, and sent me back home. That was it. No diagnosis, no recommendation for future care. I didn’t know it at the time, but I told them exactly what was wrong with me in that sentence above. And nobody heard it. I had torn my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and after a summer of knowing things weren’t right, I pushed my parents, and they pushed the doctors for an MRI, which should have been done in the first place, and I finally had my diagnosis. The doctors who failed to diagnose me properly, forgot to do that one important thing…

Listen.

The number one thing, in my opinion, that we can all do to be better doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, and any health related practitioner, is to truly listen to the patient. It is true what they said in school, that somewhere around 85% of the time, the patients will tell you exactly what the condition is they have and/or where the problem is coming from. Which makes our jobs a lot easier. It is also important for the practitioner to guide the patients to get out the most important information, and so that your 20 minute consultation doesn’t become an hour long.

Not only does diagnosing the patient become easier, the patient feels happier because someone actually listened to them, and the treatment becomes clearer. For those of you who think you already are a good listener, I challenge you to re-evaluate, and count the number of times you cut off one of your patients mid speech. I am definitely guilty of that. Point being, we can all be better.

Take time to hear people’s stories, really listen to what they describe without any judgement. Those extra 2 minutes might save you from missing something important, and they definitely will help you become a better practitioner.

The Chronicles of Sharen- Part 51

Part 51- All alone in a big fancy building

We moved our clinic last week. Apparently it has been Sharen’s “career-long dream”, to own the building that her practice is in.

I didn’t have much to do with the move or decoration of the place as I was holding down the clinic and making sure the patients were treated well.

Shocked, is an understatement, for the feeling I had when I first saw the place. Firstly, I take the bus everyday, and had to get off at a new stop because of the move. So when I knew we were getting close, I went and stood by the driver, scanning the area for a sign of the clinic. Then I saw it, it hit me like a big smack in the face, a giant billboard of an advertisement on the side of the building. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, literally. Only Sharen, the narcissist, would put her name up in huge neon letters on the side of a building. No one could miss this place.

Secondly, as I walked in the clinic, it was like being in a fancy restaurant, or a very posh home, not exactly what people picture for a “sports clinic”. It was beautiful nonetheless. And it was big, two stories, three treatment rooms, kitchen, and own parking.

Sharen’s room was downstairs, next to the reception area, with the fancy table and equipment. Guess where she decided to put my room? Upstairs, in the back next to the restrooms, with the portable table. Again, the only thing I could do is laugh. This is so typical Sharen. She only works 2-3 days per week, if she is in town, I on the other hand am there 5 days a week. She gets the fancy table for working so little, while I, who see the most patients, get pushed to the very back of the house with the worst equipment. Can you see now why I had to laugh? Its either laugh or cry.

Not only was I put to the last corner of the building, but I was the only one there! Sharen travels a lot. So weeks would go by, with me being the only one there. Many of my patients didn’t even know she existed because she was NEVER there. All alone in a big fancy building, paying for the place with my hard work, and all I got was a room next to the toilet.

For an outsider it may not seem like a big deal, but I realized the deeper statement behind it. No matter what, I wouldn’t be as good as Sharen, I would never be important enough to her to have a better room, or a better table. I could work as hard as I could, and it would still go unrecognized. In Sharen’s mind, no one can ever be as good as she is.

The Chronicles of Sharen- Part 53

Part 53- When being yourself is not enough

This was a strange week with Sharen. Things are getting more and more crazy, I decided that I needed to write this stuff down or else no one would believe me that they are actually happening.

The new employee, “A”, has been here for only a few weeks. And I can already see signs of trouble brewing. After over two years here, I am becoming better at picking up on Sharen’s subtle warning signs.

She has had numerous closed door meetings with A already, and she has him out doing errands for her, instead of helping him focus on becoming a better practitioner. But the strangest thing that happened was that Sharen told A that he needed to change his personality around the patients, but also said that he was “too pale, and should go get a fake tan”.

I have to ask… what would you do if your boss told you to leave immediately and go get a spray tan because you are too pale??

After she said this, A left the clinic to do just that. Sharen came to my room and told me the situation.  It’s very hard to disagree with Sharen though, because of her intimidating personality. And if you do disagree with her, you will be on her bad side for all of eternity. It is also hard to disagree with her, because she talks so much. She asks a question, then doesn’t wait for you to answer, she answers it herself. I have no idea why she feels the need to tell me or our secretary these things. It’s almost like she is trying to justify her actions, she needs this justification for some reason. But what I find really interesting is that in a lot of cases, she doesn’t wait to hear our response about her actions, it is more as if she is having a one sided conversation with herself.

She said, “geeze this guy, he is so weird, I told him that he needs to change his personality and be more funny in front of patients. He is so pale too, I told him that if he wants to get along better with patients, then he needs to look healthier, he needs to get a tan. He is pale isn’t he? “. Granted, the guy was a little pale, but very healthy and in good shape.

Honestly, I was shocked that she actually said this to him. I think professional growth is important, but when someone criticizes your character, that hurts. No one should  feel pressured  to change who they are or what they look like, simply because another person wants them too. I am curious to see how things will turn out with A, will he be able to survive Sharen?