Patient-Provider Relationship

Hello Dazzle! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me today, I’m glad that you are here. Today I want to express some of the thoughts that I have on the patient-provider relationship. I think there is much to be said about the importance of the provider patient relationship. Trust is what good care is built upon. I know that I cannot care for patients that do not trust me. Nothing good can come from any relationship that lacks trust. And right now, healthcare providers are loosing trust.

I have worked in healthcare since I was 14 and am now 42, so how ever many years that is. And in that time, I have never met anyone working in the field that didn’t care about their patients. They cry when their patients suffer. They beat themselves up when they fail to find the answers that their patients need. They slave at their jobs that are insanely hard. Working in healthcare has given me faith that the people who do the job do care about us, even when they don’t understand or fail to listen. Because despite all that caring, they are also human.

I don’t think it is the lack of caring about others that is keeping providers from giving good care. I personally believe that it is the system itself and the state of burnout. But that’s really a topic for another post and one that I’ve covered before. I just think that it’s important to note that people rarely stay in healthcare for very long if they came into the field for the wrong reasons. If all they are looking for is money or prestige, they are likely to go looking for it elsewhere soon after they see what the reality of healthcare is.

That isn’t to say that I don’t think there is a need for improvement in the healthcare system, because I think there is much that needs to be changed. But I do not think that our healthcare providers are in any way intentionally failing us. I don’t believe that the system was designed for chronic illness management and because of that it is failing to provide adequate services to those who utilize the system the most. Add on top of that many of the unsustainable practices and you end up with the rot we are currently in.

What working in healthcare has definitely taught me: there are no clear, simple or easy answers when trying to manage a person’s health and well being. Humans are complex and messy creatures. And those of us with chronic illness are amongst the messiest and most complex. This means that those with chronic illness are often the ones that providers have the fewest answers for and know the least about. That’s the nature of things. But I don’t think that most chronic illness patients are looking for a provider that has all the answers. I think they are looking for a provider that they can count on to always be in their corner.

Imagine for a moment with me. You go to your doctor and you completely trust them. They listen to you completely, believe everything that you tell them and they genuinely try to help you. Would it matter to you if they didn’t know everything? It wouldn’t for me. That kind of patient-provider relationship is pure gold and one that I can say I have only experienced once. It was with a knowledgeable provider, but that wasn’t what won my loyalty and faith in her. What won that was that she was the first person to believe that my experiences were real and not because I had some mental illness. She took my reports at face value. That was gold.

So, where does that leave us? Because what I am seeing is that patients are loosing trust in their providers. With 60% of Americans having a chronic illness and many of those with chronic illness feeling betrayed or harmed by the system, I can understand why that trust is faltering. Truth is, I don’t have explicit trust in my providers either. That means that our providers will have to start by earning our trust before they can even begin the process of providing us good care. It is an essential first step because there really isn’t any way to provide good care without it.

Add into this problem the fact that I don’t think most providers are even aware that this shift has happened. I am in the position of living on both sides of the fence, but that’s not the case for most of us. This means that most providers are not spending their time in the forums of the chronic illness support groups. They are not hearing the frustration, fear, disappointment and rage that is repeatedly being expressed there. I am not convinced that most providers are fully aware of how much the system is failing.

There are no simple solutions. But if we don’t make the effort to repair the relationships and the trust between the patients and the providers, I’m not sure there will be a moving forward. How can we possibly begin to correct course in the medical field if we do not first build a bridge between the providers and the patients? Because right now, it feels a little bit like we are enemies and this isn’t the relationship that we need to be able to problem solve and work together towards a healthcare system that will work better for both sides.

Well, that’s about it for my rambling today. Thanks for coming and spending some time with me. If you like what you read, click on that like button. It really does help! Until we talk again, you take care of yourselves!

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