Healthcare is not only a job that pays the bills; it comes with a certain degree of moral responsibility, as there is often great potential for tragedy if practiced by the wrong hands. This is precisely why healthcare professionals are trained as rigorously as they are to deliver lifesaving treatments where necessary and provide the best possible care before, during, and after treatment.
If you have ever been on a first aid at work course, then you probably have heard of the priorities of first aid. A cynical approach would be to only ever do anything if it is deemed medically necessary because to administer or fail to administer a treatment or diagnostic unnecessarily might harm the patient and lead to a medical negligence claim. This is not the best possible care, as this views the patient as merely a chore, and focuses only on the first two priorities. The best possible care means alleviating suffering and promoting patient recovery by also taking the psychological needs and feelings of the patient seriously.
Listening to the Patient
Patients often self-diagnose, which can be a nightmare because some might have chronic hypochondria. Healthcare providers cannot unduly spend resources checking for every conceivable possibility for a person who is likely healthy, thereby putting other, more serious cases at risk, especially where government funding for healthcare resources is at an all-time low, something suppliers like medical-supermarket.com know all too well. However, the opposite extreme can cause serious harm, and all too often, medical emergencies occur simply because they developed from more benign signs and symptoms.
Remaining Professionally Detached
One of the worst days at work is when you need to deliver bad news, and in a medical setting, that could easily be something life-changing or terminal. The hardest part about this is striking the exact balance between coming across as respectful and empathetic without compromising objectivity in the process and remaining mentally stable while in the midst of something extremely emotionally jarring. For example, one extreme might be to inform a patient their leg will need to be amputated and to cry with and hug them to try to comfort them. This is problematic because you are there as a healthcare professional, and your role is to remain strong and instill confidence in the treatment options you should already be explaining; it is the responsibility of the patient’s friends and relatives to be the shoulders to cry on. However, the opposite extreme is to tell a patient that they have lung cancer in a mundane, almost sociopathic tone of cold-blooded indifference, which can make an already traumatic experience even worse by convincing them that they do not matter and does not instill any confidence whatsoever. The balance point is between respecting what the patient is going through and informing that patient about what is happening and is likely to happen moving forward.
Communication, communication, communication
At the end of the day, the patient is (usually) not a healthcare practitioner, you are, and they will feel lost and alone if they do not know what is happening and will turn to self-diagnosis for answers, leading to unnecessary anxiety and complications, and treatment will be impaired if healthcare workers do not inform each other about what is going on with that patient. Good communication is, therefore, the ultimate source of all good healthcare.