Today I shadowed my preceptor for Doctoring 1 again at Kaiser. I really like shadowing her because she is really good with patients (someone I would want to model myself after). Also, I personally have Kaiser Insurance so its pretty cool to see the other side of things.
My preceptor practices adult medicine, which I had been sort of turned off to lately, but being there today sort of sparked my interest again. Pretty much all of the patients we saw today had a laundry list of medical problems. I was really impressed with the fact that my preceptor remembered every patient we saw today from a previous encounter. She was very empathetic and understanding of their needs, and I could tell they were all very pleased with her service.
Also, for some reason - today more than other days - I feel like I really got a quick glimpse into each of the patients' lives (outside of their medical issues). Each one of them told their stories and just wanted to be heard by someone. Maybe they just wanted some sort of acknowledgement. Whatever it was, I felt my preceptor gave it to them.
This brings me to the point of this post: something that we often lose in medicine is our patients' stories. Its way too easy to get caught up in thinking of your patients as "clinical vignettes", medical "problems" that you must find the "solution" to. But it is so much more than that. Our patient's physical health is one aspect of their multifaceted life. Each one of them has a story, whether it be joyful, heartbreaking, heart-warming, or just easy to relate to. I love being given the opportunity to hear patients' stories because I find that they re-inspire me every time. There is something about just connecting with a patient that gives me the warm & fuzzies. Sadly, the way medicine is today, we don't get much time to listen to our patients.