“It is not doing the thing we like to do,
but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation. Selah
Psalm 68:19 (NRSV)
Patient engagement is a “hot topic” for health care planners. It is part of the “meaningful use” prerequisite for electronic data management and access to information technology. Underlying these ideas are how physicians, nurses, allied health connect with patients. Here is my understanding and experience of that connection.
I would regularly meet a woman on entering the hospital who would respond to “Good morning, how are you?” with a smile and a consistent response, “Blessed”. It immediately started my day with another vision of my work. Recently, I read a tribute/eulogy to a teacher and mentor where the author discovers the source of his relationship with patients…”You are a blessing”.
These two observations remind me of the opportunity we have been given when we are at our best as physicians. We have that wonderful privilege of being with and standing by patients and their families at critical times in their lives.
We have duties that we have sworn to uphold, but there is a larger dimension of what we should be and prescribe, “Be a Blessing”. It means that even in the midst of a difficult illness or procedure, our patients should leave with the belief that you and your team have provided comfort and have been a blessing.
Students will see if this virtue is a reality in the life of the physician/teacher when it happens at the bedside and in the consultation room. So besides the physician, those who are members of the teams of caring will also be blessed and leave thankful for the opportunity to be a recipient of a blessing. Sometimes the new communication tools will make that happen.
Carbone L. You are a blessing. Annals of Internal Medicine. 150(4):276, 2009 Feb 17.
Verghese A; Brady E; Kapur CC; Horwitz RI. The bedside evaluation: ritual and reason. Annals of Internal Medicine. 155(8):550-3, 2011 Oct 18.
Hage, M. L. (2012). Rx Ubuntu. Retrieved from http://healingagents.blogspot.com/2012/04/rx-ubuntu.html
Hage, M. L. (2013). Selah. Retrieved from http://healingagents.blogspot.com/2013/04/selah.html