Frustrated by a Hospital Stay? Doctors Are Frustrated, Too

One important theme in the information I share with patients, is to help them better understand their frustrations with healthcare as a basis for understanding how to get past those frustrations.

Point-of-view is always a good place to begin.  Understanding the point of view of whatever it is that stands in your way can help you figure out how to get beyond it.  Here’s an example:

A Medical Center is Not a Hospital

Written by Thomas Lansdale III, MD, an internist with several decades of experience working in hospitals at first — which evolved to “medical centers” — he compares the experiences of those early decades of his work to the experiences of today.

His comparison is the doctor’s point of view.  It’s not about the money parts, although the money pursuit is certainly the basis for why the shifts have taken place .  It’s about his ability to enjoy the fruits of his labor.  In the early days, a patient stayed in the hospital long enough to do much of his healing.  Now, patients are ejected the moment their procedure is past.  Then, Dr. Lansdale could teach his medical students and enjoy their “aha!” moments.  Today, those students have had to become more robotic.  They can’t take the time to revel in the “ahas” — because they must complete their work on so many more patients in a day.

How can we patients use this information?  We need to understand that our doctors, nurses and other providers are just as frustrated, and perhaps even more so, than we are.  A nurse who early in her career was helping bathe a patient and feeling the appreciation of doing so as part of her reward for her hard work, no longer enjoys that reward, because she’s not allowed that task anymore.  A doctor who has admitted one of her patients to the hospital doesn’t see that patient anymore, because that hospital uses a system of hospitalists and intensivists and proceduralists and other “ists“.  Yes, those folks are highly specialized, but there doesn’t seem to be a continuum of human care — not for the patients OR their providers.

One thing we patients can begin to do, is to know that we’re all in this together.  Maybe that’s our one commonality — nobody is happy with the system.  But that one commonality, and understanding that other person’s point of view, can help us develop ways to move forward and ultimately to improve our care.

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Trisha Torrey
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