Making Connections with My Patients

April 12, 2011

What’s been interesting to me is how patients have selected me as their new doctor based on certain features in my bio created by a marketing professional last year. But I have to admit that I’m a pretty private person and struggle sometimes with how much I want to share with my patients.

When I moved to my new job, the healthcare organization for which I now work published a brief bio about me in local newspapers and on little cards that get mailed to patients scheduled with me.

They’re also available in our waiting room and the local hospital. The bio was written by a marketing professional after a 15-minute interview with me last year. To give it cohesion and a theme, she artfully selected key ideas from my life story and wove them together to create a nice package.

What’s been interesting to me is how patients have selected me as their new doctor based on certain features in my bio.

One gentleman, who basically fired the medical profession six years ago, came to see me with an infection. He selected me as his new doctor because I was in the Army - this is how he knew he could trust me. I took advantage of that trust to not only treat his infection but also to coax him to treat his blood pressure and encourage him to permanently get rid of the package of cigarettes peeking out of his shirt pocket. A mother selected me to be her daughter’s doctor because I have a sister who is handicapped. She thought this would help me to provide better, more compassionate care to her own daughter, who suffers from mental retardation. Another older woman brought the bio card in for our first visit and read to me her favorite excerpts, adding that we were sure to get along great because we both like reading and scrapbooking.
 

I have to admit that I’m a pretty private person and struggle sometimes with how much I want to share with my patients. These recent encounters and scores just like them remind me that I ask my own patients to share so much of themselves and to trust me so completely. If finding out where I grew up or what I like to do on a Saturday morning or even how my husband and I met can serve as a foundation for a strong physician-patient relationship, then those bio cards were well worth it.
 

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