In the past few years Kylie Jenner has taken the world by storm with her rapid and almost unrecognisable transformation (Bruce also…but that’s another story). From the young age of 16, she slowly began her progressive change into someone that she felt she would be more comfortable being. Do I agree with what she has done? Who cares. Does she look great? Hell yeah!
But in all seriousness, is there such a thing as too much? Who decides enough is enough? This week I was faced with several cases of patient management and guidance. The issues most healthcare professionals have with the private sector is the “lack of morality” and that it is “all about the money” with no care whatsoever for “patient best interest”. I must admit, I can completely understand what is fuelling these thoughts, but as with all things in life, there is good and bad in everything. Even within the NHS there are plenty of healthcare professionals abusing the system and patients for personal gain, therefore it is unfair to beat everyone with the same stick.
During this week shadowing No. 10 Harley St, I observed silently as my mentor was faced with a string of patients (when it rains it pours) demanding treatments that would not have been considered in their best interest nor would it address the issues that they were concerned with. One would expect, if being a business minded, money oriented, greedy private doctor, then you would go along with whatever the patient says and give them what they want. Money is money, and the customer is always right…right? Wrong.
I was surprised and pleased to watch my mentor actually refuse to provide certain patients with the treatments they demanded, as it was clearly not in their best interest or morally correct. Watching my mentor deliver his reasoning in such a way that the patient didn’t feel offended or brushed off was extremely impressive. I had never realised how manipulative patients can be when asking for treatments, they can almost make you believe that there really is something that needs to be addressed when in reality, it is just their own hyperbolic strive for perfection. It is the clinician’s responsibility to guide and advise the patients to the best of their ability and, when necessary, flat out refuse anything that is not appropriate. It is easy to get caught up in the hype and the desire to keep your patients happy – this behaviour is not sustainable in the long run, if something goes wrong, the patient will ask you why you did not stop them and that they trusted you. It will be you who will be at fault and no one else.
Once the patients had left, my mentor advised me of the importance of putting patient safety first and working towards their long-term goals as opposed to immediate gratification – we are in this business for the long-haul, we should view these patients as clients for life, not just dollar signs running in and out of your clinic. It was refreshing to hear such words, especially when working in a world where everyone is becoming more selfish and everything revolves around money. It is important to not only be well educated in the realm you work in, but to also have an adequate appreciation of the human psyche. Combining these two skills, allows you as a clinician, to educate and guide your patients into making correct and informed decisions, thus managing their expectations accordingly and limiting the number of poor outcomes.
They say the trust between a doctor and the patient is even stronger than that between spouses – it is imperative to cultivate and maintain this trust. I have concluded, in my short time working in the healthcare industry, that this is one of the keys to true success and patient satisfaction (#majorkeyalert).