Who’s on the Team?

As an incoming second year medical student, I hardly have any clinical experience. My school is beginning to stress the importance of interprofessional education and emphasizing how everyone from the housekeeping staff to the administrators is important in the healthcare team, and I see the importance of each person’s role. However, one piece of the team is rarely discussed – the patient and his/her family. When we reviewed the Lewis Blackman story today, it was discussed how his mother, Helen, was the only constant in his care. Helen, her husband, and Lewis were the only people who witnessed the entirety of the very fragmented care that he received. I have heard that patients and their families are supposed to be a part of the health care team, but I did not truly understand what their role was other than making the final decision on treatment plans. Now I understand that they see the whole picture and know the patient best.  If someone took the time to truly listen to Helen’s concerns, maybe this situation would have been changed; it would have at the very least made the family more at ease knowing their son was receiving appropriate attention and care. I really enjoyed the aside that was mentioned during the discussion by Tim that “Mom is always right.” Honestly, family members have the best gut feelings about situations regarding their loved ones, and their opinions should be heavily considered. I will keep these thoughts in mind when I evaluate my future patients.

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