fbpx

Healing Clinician-Associated Trauma: A Call for Connection

Kara Wada, MD emphasizes the urgent need to restore healing therapeutic connections between clinicians and patients, recognizing the universal trauma inflicted by the medical institution.

July 13, 2023

Our modern existence is a state of perpetual disconnection.

Earbuds in. Staring down at our screens. Avoiding eye contact.

Disconnected from each other and ourselves, we go about our lives in adult parallel play.

Numbing any hint of uncomfortable feelings with more Netflix or scrolling.

The social, political, and health consequences of this existence have accelerated over the last three years. As a result, the physician-patient relationship is more fractured than ever. Physicians are asked to see more patients in less time, check more boxes, optimize billing, and keep saying yes because that is, after all, what doctors do.

All the while, we cannot fully realize and live the values that led us to this vocation.

 

"Disconnected from each other and ourselves, we go about our lives in adult parallel play."

 

The reason so many of us took on 8+ years of education and hundreds of thousands of dollars in educational debt.

How far we have drifted away from the ideal.

Away from healing therapeutic connection.

Instead …

We are exhausted. Burnout is disengagement.

Survival mode is mechanical.

Robotic.

And here are our patients.

Especially those marginalized.

Brown. Female. LGBTQ+. Invisibly ill. Disabled. Poor. Uninsured. Hungry.

Yearning to feel safe.

To be witnessed.

 

 

To be heard, seen, and believed.

Validated.

Instead …

Churned through the system.

A trip on the medical conveyor belt running at double speed.

Your fatigue? Depression and a referral to psychiatry.

Shortness of breath? Lose 30 lbs. and referred to pulmonary.

Stomach aches? Anxiety and referral to GI.

Joint pain? Tired mom and referral to rheumatology.

Perhaps in many instances, there is some truth to those statements.

And yet, how much healing is going to result from those interactions?

So goes the game of hot potato on a diagnostic odyssey.

Navigating the medical bureaucracy, insurance, and bills.

 

So goes the game of hot potato on a diagnostic odyssey. Navigating the medical bureaucracy, insurance, and bills. Click To Tweet

 

Fostering more distrust of the establishment and maybe of science too. It’s recorded as the next viral TikTok; #medicalgaslighting or the new term coined this month: “Clinician-associated traumatization.”

At some point, desperate for relief, they may resort to buying the unicorn tear supplement their favorite influencer is peddling as a promised cure or another of the modern-day snake oil cures being touted.

All the while, a thorough expert medical evaluation is delayed for many months or years; diagnosis and a holistic approach to treatment are delayed.

 

So what do we do for healing clinician-associated trauma?

 

  • Recognize that trauma is universal to all of us, so often it is inflicted by the medical institution and hurt people hurt people.
  • Realize that we don’t have all the answers and admitting we don’t know isn’t a bad thing.
  • Respect that our patients come to us with their lived experiences, expertise, and intelligence.

 

Respect that our patients come to us with their lived experiences, expertise, and intelligence. Click To Tweet

 

  • Respond with curiosity and compassion, especially when frustrated or don’t understand.
  • Restore agency and autonomy in sharing the decision-making process.
  • Repair the connection by rebuilding trust.
  • Resist the forces that demand more of us and draw us further away from our core values and healing human connection.

 

Most importantly, we must celebrate the synergy between patient and physician.

Magic arises from our mirror neurons; we connect and co-regulate when we communicate. Remember that at our deepest, most biologic level, we all yearn to be seen, heard, and believed.

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.

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This learning experience is powered by CMEfy - a platform that brings relevant CMEs to busy clinicians, at the right place and right time. Using short learning nudges, clinicians can reflect and unlock AMA PRA Category 1 Credit.

Of Interest

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

[SERIES] Stigmatized

Coming Soon: Stigmatized [SERIES]

Coming Soon: Dr. Jay Joshi hosts this limited time series, in which he brings other healthcare professionals to the discussion table, to cover a stigmatizing topic.

[SERIES] Stigmatized

Coming Soon: Stigmatized [SERIES]

Coming Soon: Dr. Jay Joshi hosts this limited time series, in which he brings other healthcare professionals to the discussion table, to cover a stigmatizing topic.

Jamian Reed, DO

Jamian Reed, DO

Introducing Psychodynamic Osteopathy to find health of body, mind, and spirit.

Alina Olteanu, MD, PhD

Alina Olteanu, MD, PhD

Preventing chronic diseases, including mental health struggles, starts in childhood! Healthy children grow into health adults!

Uday Khosla, MD

Uday Khosla, MD

I am a nephrologist who focuses on developing businesses that support physician independence and improve the healthcare experience for both patients and physicians.

Want More?

Be a part of our healthcare revolution. Don't miss a thing SoMeDocs publishes!

Disclaimer: SoMeDocs assumes no responsibility for the accuracy, claims, or content of the individual experts' profiles, contributions and courses. Details within posts cannot be verified. This site does not represent medical advice and you should always consult with your private physician before taking on anything you read online. See SoMeDocs' Terms of Use for more information.

follow us

© 2024 SoMeDocs. All Rights Reserved.

Soak up our content & grow

Earn CME

Drop your email address below and we’ll email you the link for earning CME (through CMEfy). Please check your spam folder if you do not receive our email. We’ll also add you to our Sunday newsletter, so you can earn more CME credits reading our content!

Support A Platform that Celebrates Real Doctors

For just $10 a month, you can help keep this openly accessible site available to all & help us sponsor in more doctors.

Interested in subscribing
to our unique content?

Interested in subscribing to our unique content?

I acknowledge that this site is not to be used for medical advice.

Play Video
Our Founder Answers Your BURNING Question

SoMeDocs

“Why should I become a member of SoMeDocs if I already have my own space online?”

Site SoMeDocs Logo, square

WANT TO STAY IN THE LOOP?

DON'T MISS A SINGLE CONTENT PIECE.