As medical providers how long do we spend with a patient during a single visit? You walk in, introduce yourself, ask a few questions, listen to the patient’s story and then, with a differential and a plan in mind, you walk out. Wash, rinse and repeat this process with however many patients you are caring for that day. The importance of including family members into the care team became abundantly clear today after hearing the personal stories of preventable medical errors. One of my take away quotes was: “providers see the movie trailer, but family members watch the whole film.” The family members know a patient’s normal mannerisms, they are in the room with the patient all day, and they are going to be the ones who continue care long after they leave the hospital. Therefore, it is beneficial to both the medical team and the patient to welcome them into conversations about the patient’s status.
One of the other most motivating notions was a concept shared by one of the team members today. He said that whenever the entire medical care team walks into a patient room together, he takes notice of who the patient looks at most. Who do they look to as the leader? Who do they look to as their biggest supporter on the medical team? This person who the patient looks to is likely the one who has taken the time to build rapport and trust with the patient. The one that the patient thinks of as their biggest advocate. He challenged us to always aim to be the person that the patient looks to in the room. This conversation certainly made me set a new goal for myself when I start clinical rotations and beyond.