I hope all student doctors and nurses are told this: listen to your patient.
Lupus is a really weird disease. (And maybe some other autoimmune conditions are like it.) There are times when I can be incredibly sick, but my blood test results look perfect - and times when I feel fine that my bloods don't look so good. So it's important to listen to what the patient is actually saying, rather than just look at pathology results.
The other side of that is that if they give the impression they're not interested in hearing what the patient has to say, they might miss out on information they need for proper diagnosis or treatment. When I was in hospital chaplaincy, patients would often tell me things about their physical condition or ask me questions. All I was able to do was encourage them to talk to the medical staff - to say, "That sounds like something the nurse or doctor really needs to know, do you think you can tell them that?" or "I don't know what that means, but it really seems to be worrying you, why don't you ask the doctor and find out for sure if it's a problem or not?" Nine times out of ten, the patient would tell me the doctors and nurses were all far too busy and didn't have time to listen to the patient. Now I admit, my formal qualifications are in theology not medicine, but I have a strong suspicion that some of the information patients told me about (eg new or changed symptoms) might possibly have been of some value to the people diagnosing and treating their medical conditions.
This post written as part of Wego Health's National Health Blog Post Month.
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