Day in and day out, Healthcare professionals from every level do face abusive patients or their family members. That’s why dealing with angry patients is a typical scenario in counseling stations since undergraduate days & even at workshops!
This you tube video captures it beautifully…some of the common scenarios are highlighted. As much as we wish, we can’t just ignore and become totally numb. We learn to handle it with less negative reaction from our end though in facing the situation. Each of us cope with it differently in our own ways at the end of the day. With the herculean task of having to care for and give undivided attention to many more, what right do we have to wallow in the abuse/anger we have been subjected to? Sadly, often our own health and needs take a backseat. 😧
The day we become numb to the negative outbursts, watch out, world! That will be the day empathy dies a bitter death too. Amen.
Watch “Everyone matters” on YouTube
On crazy busy days like yesterday & today, I’m truly grateful for the patience of my patients. I try my best to still greet each person with a smile.
But you know what is tougher than listening to long winded stories on a really busy day?
Listening to complaints! Especially when it is about other doctors.
I try to be empathetic but be careful to document without implicating other doctors…part of the art of defensive medicine to mention patient was angry or upset about whatever issue they mentioned while being discreet enough not to document names.
So, 2 days in a row now I had patients booked in to see me, when the doctor they saw earlier in the very same day is still on duty.
That alamak feeling rised again early on during today’s shift.
While yesterday I was very stern as the patient’s wife was hurling abusive statements about my colleague (one of the seniormost doctors here) at the front desk & I was already running super late….today’s patient was well behaved.
I spent almost 20 mins with him before my next patient arrived, starting from square 1 as I was confused about a few things and believe there had been misunderstanding between him and his treating GP (who was my supervisor)! It was very unfortunate that the Specialiat he was referred to by the other doctor was uncontactable! Some comment made by people at radiology centre didn’t help. All in, he was super frustrated and irritated, to say the least. Luckily he was calm with me (I was seeing him for the first time) & I reciprocated and tried to leave no stones unturned.
I reminded him the only reason I had all the luxury to clarify things and spend more than half an hour with him in total today was merely because the other patients were late.
I was defending both doctors to both patients, yesterday & today…a very draining process, I tell you!
Just like how in exams we need to forget about one station as soon as we finish it, in practice too I try my best to tie up loose ends about a patient there and then. Brooding over things doesn’t help.
Patients need to understand we try to do our best in the limited time we have with them as GPs! It doesn’t help with the type of patients who gather 10 issues over time and sees a doctor with a 10 minute appointment slot and expect us to fix all their issues ><
I always believe if X badmouths Y to me, it wouldn’t take X long to badmouth me to everyone else from A-Z! Lessons learnt at a young age that one :p
Today’s patient walked out saying “Thank you for listening to me. You have brightened up my day. I was feeling very frustrated today & losing faith”.
Sigh…if only all we do is handle clinical concerns alone. Medicine is as much (if not more) of an Art, as well as Science too!