Before I bury my nose in a Netter's anatomy book for the rest of the evening, I want to take some time to share something valuable I learned this week, as I believe it to be the most important aspect of working in healthcare: the therapist and patient interaction.
These practice patient interactions really hit home with me. I remembered the numerous times I've visited a clinician that acted as if I was incompetent, not to mention making me feel more stressed than when I arrived. Although I have multiple blog posts that need to be finished, the topic of empathy in healthcare is an important one.
Empathy is defined as: "the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another."
I believe expressing empathy is sometimes forgotten in the hustle and bustle of healthcare. I've read articles of new practitioners being so concerned about making the right diagnosis or showing the patient how much knowledge they have, that they forget to even listen or interact with their patients.
This is outrageous, because:
"people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
Relating this to the physical therapy world, I believe the success of a patient is even more so dependent upon the patient and therapist interaction.
How likely is it that a patient will listen to the educational information provided by a therapist or adhere to a therapists treatment recommendation if all the therapist is concerned about is making sure the insurance reimbursement paperwork is filled out? This is detrimental, as successful physical therapy relies on patient education and between session adherence.
Although I am studying my butt off to learn everything I can while in the doctor of physical therapy program, my success after I graduate will ultimately depend upon my ability to relate to each and every patient (and person!) I come in contact with
...and I'm excited about that.
Empathy is vital for successful healthcare. I hope after reading this, you will take a step back and evaluate how you interact with your patients, players, students, etc.
Back to studying the anatomy of the spine.
P.S. Here are a few more articles on empathy and healthcare:
New research links empathy to patient outcome:
Physician empathy and disease complications: