Emotion trumps Logic: I often think about a Maya Angelou quote: "I may not remember what you did for me, but I will always remember how you made me feel." It is so ironic because so many physicians will first remember what they did for the patient and only when probed might recall the emotion in the encounter. This is an example of how there can be such a dichotomy between the patient experience and the physician experience. The patient may be sitting with emotionally and physically painful secrets they have never shared - until today. The physician is prepared to ask a few diagnostic questions, chose among several medications they will prescribe and smoothly leave with encouragement and a plan for the next appointment. Doctors are prepared to open the door to the examining room, but maybe not prepared to open the door to the patient's life.
but they are quick to know that this is a Level 2 or Level 3 visit, for example. They also need
to be clear about documenting all of their findings in order to justify the medical diagnosis
and the codes for treatments - especially procedures. Doing a procedure or sending a
prescription to the patient's pharmacy feels like I'm doing something. "Just" listening does
not feel like I'm doing something - no matter what the patient says.
I wonder if we are teaching the subtleties of listening well enough!