Throughout PA school, I was given a few pearls on the art of medicine.
The one pearl that I took away was sitting down when you’re talking to a patient. Not only are patients receptive to your body language, but overall, they feel like they are receiving better care.
Just like with any type of art, it takes time and patience to master. There are not enough hours in a day for PA school to provide you with that type of training.
I was so thankful to work with a DDS/DMD who has had 40 years of experience in clinic this week. Throughout my training, I never once had a preceptor/supervisor sit me down and discuss every skill set required (from technical examination skills to reading a patient’s emotions/body language) for a patient encounter. It was so refreshing and inspiring to be connected on so many levels with a patient.
Here are “The 3 L’s” that I learned from Dr. C:
- Look at the patient: Do you notice any signs of pathology? Can you read the patient’s body language? Their emotions?
- Listen to the patient: The patient may provide you with a lot of non-pertinent history. For example, it’s like making a salad. You have your lettuce, tomato, cucumber, cheese, croutons..whatever else you like with your greens. Well, maybe you’re not feeling like cheese today. It is your role as a provider to listen and pick out parts of the story as to why the patient came in today.
- Learn from the patient: What did you find out about this patient that would help them with their problems? Every patient has a story and it is your job to learn as much as you can in the limited time you have with them.
I do believe the art of medicine is lost. Unfortunately, our fast-paced society does not allow new health providers to be trained the way medicine was once taught.
I challenge you to keep this in the back of your mind as you grow and perfect your art.