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Beyond Metrics: Humanizing Medicine

Amanda Kaine, MBS shares the importance of valuing patients for their personal stories and experiences, and taking the time to listen rather than merely evaluating based off the numbers.

June 10, 2024

Numbers. They’re huge in medicine.

All aspects, too.

Medical admissions, medical evaluations, and the focal point when developing medical treatment plans.

Medicine is driven by data and evidence-based practice. However, have we ever thought about feelings and pain when making these decisions? We cannot quantify emotion when describing the type of pain. We can put it on a scale, sure… But is that measuring the emotional impact? Pain a patient feels is driven by subjective feelings not objective numbers.

 

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Imagine a world in which we value feelings just as much as numbers and statistics. Patients are not just another number. Patients are people too. We shall value their stories, voices, and lived experiences.  By integrating an empathetic approach, we will create a world in which we prioritize patients’ comfort and actively listen to their needs and ensure they are met.

I am stating the above because I want to make it my mission as a future physician to promote a culture in medicine driven on a holistic approach of care. We shall not evaluate patient outcomes based off lab values, yet- value and appreciate successful patient outcomes deemed off patient’s pain levels and feelings. When we do this in conjunction with the metrics derived via exams and other quantifiable prognostics, we can create a plan that is catered to specific patient needs, not just the general treatment approach to “X” disease.

My goal in medicine is to evaluate the patient and impact lives. My goal is to not just treat the numbers. I aim to treat with a caring approach, and to treat the person. Everybody has a story. It is the duty of a physician to listen to that story, make patients feel heard and seen, and consider that personal history when formulating a treatment plan.

 

“I want to make it my mission as a future physician to promote a culture in medicine driven on a holistic approach of care.”

 

As a future physician, I aim to follow three general steps in medicine:

  1. Listen: Listening is one of the most underrated and simplest tasks you can do in medicine. Hearing someone’s pain, feelings, symptoms, and overall story can provide the ability to greater understand the problem and bring you closer to a prognosis or diagnosis. Listening to my patient’s stories as an EMT has left me with greater appreciation to understanding unique experiences.
  2. Observation: Looking at a patient’s disposition has provided me with greater context in understanding their diagnosis while working in Emergency Medicine. I hope to continue this throughout my career by noticing the little things, being observant, and looking for key physical signs to better form a comprehensive review of one’s health.
  3. The very last one is the one that doctors, and medical providers have the great honor of doing in their careers… treating disease and fixing medical problems!!

 

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To be able to heal through the power of medicine is of great importance and is what makes the job of being a provider so rewarding and special.

I am not only excited to utilize the knowledge I will obtain along the way, but I will be honored to one day make an impact through therapeutic treatments and be the person my patients remember.

I am excited to be my patients greatest advocate and number one fan through it all.

Overall, by shifting our focus to encompass emotional and well-being alongside physical metrics, we can continue to shape the culture of medicine to be holistically driven by compassionate based care.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email opmed@doximity.com. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Find out what we’re looking for here and submit your writing, or send us a pitch.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.

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