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Mar 29

Compassion

Happy Monday, and welcome to Medical Mondays! Apparently, I was mistaken about the actual date of Doctor’s Day. The hospital I’m at jumped the gun and decided to celebrate it along with the kickoff to the weekend, so my apologies on any confusion, and happy actual-Doctors’ Day!

(Happy birthday to Alex, Susie, and happy Doctors’ Day to you, Sonali! <3)

I didn’t manage to gain access to the physicians’ lounge for chocolate-covered strawberries, but I did get a super-delicious + fancy lunch! <3

doctorsdaylunch

This week’s topic is different from what I’d originally planned, but we’re gonna go with it, because it’s an extremely important one.

I’ve always been terrible about politely extracting myself from conversations, mostly because I really enjoy talking with my patients, and because I think it’s rude to interrupt people unless absolutely necessary.

Back in my days volunteering at Paul Hom Asian Clinic, I remember some of our patients often came by just to hang out in the waiting room, not to actually be seen by a doctor or anything, but to socialize with other patients (or with us). I was always happy to see them and to know that they were doing well, and I think at the end of the day, apart from any physical ailments and/or health conditions, a lot of people are just lonely and want someone to talk to, to know that someone’s listening to them, and that someone out there cares about them.

It makes a huge difference in care when your patients know/feel that you really care about them.

As I mentioned in my Day in the Life post, I usually round on my patients in the morning and write up my notes on them (one of the 4th-years complimented me on my notes over the weekend! :D!) before meeting up with the FM team. On Friday, however, I was scheduled to do OMT on a patient who was having headaches, so I had to cut my usual visit with one of my [preceptor’s] patients a little shorter.

cardfrompt1

She gave me this card when I went back with the FM team to round on our patients. It made my day. <3

I went back later on to talk with her, since my afternoons were generally freer, but that was also cut short because she had to go off for a carotid ultrasound, so I promised I’d come back when I finished up my day.

This past Friday was Matt’s last day on FM (nooooo :'( ), so we went out to dinner to celebrate, since he has only 6 weeks left til he’s done with his 4th-year rotations. Not gonna lie, this week is going to be kinda lonely, because he’s been seriously awesome, but I’m really happy for him!

sushishogun

When I got back to the hospital after dinner, she was asleep, and I had an internal debate about whether I should wake her up to let her know I was there. She’d been having trouble sleeping and I felt really guilty about waking her, so I wrote her a note and decided to switch her cell phone battery to the charged one before leaving.

In so doing, I accidentally woke her up, but she said she was glad I did. We talked for hours (I ended up getting home close to midnight–good thing the hospital knows me and didn’t kick me out? ๐Ÿ˜› ), and I found out a lot about her life story.

She is a spectacular lady, with such a loving and giving heart. I love her sense of humor, and I was incredibly inspired by how she still tries to see the good in everyone, despite how much she’s gone through in her life. Somewhere in our conversation, she said this to me:

I know I haven’t known you for very long, but I can tell that you’re a really special person. You don’t even know me, and you’re here on your own time just to listen to me ramble. You’re so sweet and kind, and just you being here, talking to me, treating me like an actual human being and making me feel like you really care about me…that’s helped me so much–more than you’ll ever know. You’ve restored my faith in young people.”

I rarely tear up over things (my crying usually comes from anger/frustration vs. sadness), but for serious, I was so touched by the things she said to me that I actually teared up. ;_;

What makes me sad about that statement, however, is that treating a patient as an actual human being should be standard practice. That shouldn’t be something that someone has to thank anyone for. Letting them know that you care about them as a person and that you’re going to do the best you can to treat them should be something that you would not be wrong to expect.

As a medical student, I still have the time (kindasorta) to spend with my patients, and I’d like to keep that up for as long as I can. I may not be able to do much right now, but at least I can be a good listener! :]

cardfrompt

I like to think this means I’m doing something right!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s #DishTheFit on who inspires me to stay healthy!


I came up with this design ages ago for our class t-shirt contest! :]
Disclaimer: This is where I reiterate that I am merely a medical student struggling through the world that is her clinical rotations. The statements made on this blog should not be taken as medical advice to treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please contact your own physician or health care provider before starting a health or fitness/wellness program. (See full disclaimer here.)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.fairyburger.com/compassion/

70 comments

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  1. Kaylin @ Enticing Healthy Eating

    I wish every future medical doctor had the compassion and understanding you do to how important it is to connect with people more often. Seriously. I can tell you are a true gem. Which, once again, makes me so thankful we are friends!

    1. Farrah

      Aww, thank you, Kaylin! <3 I'm super super glad that we're friends too! :]! I'm still globe-trotting at the moment, and there's a program in Dallas that I think I want to! We'll see how all this works out next year! Maybe during my globetrotting, I can actually meet up with you somewhere! :D!

      1. Kaylin @ Enticing Healthy Eating

        That would be amazing! Yes, if you make it to Dallas, PLEASE make sure to let me know!

        1. Farrah

          For sure! Even if I don’t get to do an actual rotation there, if they like me enough to grant me an interview, you’re the first one I’ll tell! <3

  2. Sam

    That’s a really touching story. You’re a very good person.

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Sam! :] I’ve been tryin’ hard to make a difference!

  3. Erin@BeetsPerMinute

    That’s awesome, Farrah! You’re amazing. It’s so nice to know that there are doctors like you out there to give people the compassion and treatment that is necessary. It must feel very rewarding! :)
    Erin@BeetsPerMinute recently posted…Weekend DelightsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thank you! :] It definitely does! I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that I won’t ever end up burning out! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  4. Diana

    great post! You have such an amazing heart <3

    You always talk about rotations, I can speculate as to what a rotation is but was wondering if you could explain how it works?
    Diana recently posted…Weekend update & week ahead My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Diana! :]

      Of course! For medical school, the 1st 2 years = “pre-clinical education,” where we do all the book-studying and whatnot, and the last 2 years = “pre-doctoral education,” where we do rotations in all the different specialties so we can gain exposure in each (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, OB/GYN, Emergency Medicine, + some electives and sub-specialties). We use 3rd year to figure out what field we want to do for the rest of our lives, and the first half of 4th year to apply to/interview at/do away rotations at places where we think we might want to do our residency! :] (Lemme know if that helped to clear it up! I’ll probably be doing a post on it at some point in the future! :O )

  5. Linda @ The Fitty

    These acts of kindness gives me hope :’)
    Linda @ The Fitty recently posted…Chiptole Interviews, Abuse From โ€œDadโ€ + Life LatelysMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I’m glad they do! Hang in there! <3!

  6. Melanie

    That is awesome!! What a sweet lady! :) You are going to be amazing at what you do because you care.
    Melanie recently posted…Weekly RundownMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks so much! :] I really hope I will be!!

  7. Lois

    What a lovely heart-warming story <3 Thank you for sharing xx

    1. Farrah

      Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€ Her words gave me warm fuzzies!

  8. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    Happy Doctor-to-be day! There is a nurse practitioner day, but no one celebrates it. The medical group that I work for (it’s huge) sent me a doctor’s day gift last year. LOL. They just don’t know what to do with us!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…The 5 R’s of vacationMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I had no idea that there were days to celebrate our professions until I got to this hospital! That’s so nice of your medical group to give you a gift though! :] Just gotta roll with it, I guess! ๐Ÿ˜›

  9. Maureen

    Compassion makes the world go round! We all need it and we should all have it!
    Maureen recently posted…Whole30 Days 1-3 {I’m the king of the world}My Profile

    1. Farrah

      I definitely agree with you there! :]!

  10. Susie @ SuzLyfe

    Thank you for the shout out to my hubs! I love that Doctors day and his birthday are the same day–so meant to be, lol.
    Compassion really is the secret to be an amazing physician and person. Sometimes? Compassion is about getting involved and doing everything in your power to help them believe and to work towards a solution. But sometimes? Compassion is about letting go–sometimes that is the best thing for the patient and the family, though they don’t know it yet.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Allergies, Shamrock Shuffle, and Exclusive Discount Codes!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      haha, yes indeed! :O

      My birthday is one day after Hitler’s birthday (…)/national pot day, but I guess I should count my blessings that I wasn’t so eager that I came into being even earlier. :O

      Wise words, m’friend! Letting go can be so difficult, but I definitely agree that sometimes, it’s really the best option.

  11. Annmarie

    Compassion is so important for so many reasons. You are a fantastic medical student and will make an amazing doctor!!! I could only wish for a doctor to treat me the way that you treat your patients!
    Annmarie recently posted…Meatless Monday: Spicy Baked Avocado Fries with Honey Lime Dipping SauceMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      <3! Thanks so much, Annmarie! :]

  12. Ivanna

    Compassion is so important for a doctor. Sometimes I think some doctors can get caught up in the routine and forget they are dealing with valuable lives and people. It’s great that you are taking a stand for compassion we need more docs like you!
    Ivanna recently posted…There is NO one size fits all ANYTHING!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      They definitely can, and with the increasing patient volumes being forced on them these days, I can understand why, but I really hope I’ll be able to find that perfect balance!!

  13. Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl

    This is SO lovely. My cousin just graduated med school and started working in pediatrics, and her stories are always heart-rending. Compassion is one of the most valuable skills not just for doctors, but for anyone; and in your case especially critical!
    Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl recently posted…Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal CakeMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! Pediatrics was definitely one of my favorite rotations thus far, and I can definitely see how there’d be a lot of heartwarming stories there. <3!! I can't wait to graduate too! *-*

  14. Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    So glad you were able to do that. You are a special person!
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…StrengthMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Julie! <3 I'm really glad about that too! :]

  15. jess meddows

    Aw Farrah, you are such a sweetheart. <3 I know you make a difference in the lives of the people who know you in all your different interests – whether it's your med school rotations, your family and friends, or your blogging community, but it's so nice to hear that back. :) xxx
    jess meddows recently posted…uTalk Language Application Premium Giveaway!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Aww, thanks so much for your kind words, Jess! <3! You made my day! :]!

  16. Elsie @ Sharing Healthiness

    “Treating a patient as an actual human being should be standard practice”. You said it girl!! I am sure that woman is immensely grateful to have met you! That doggy card was so cute. I genuinely prefer cards over actual gifts. They say so much more!! :)
    Elsie @ Sharing Healthiness recently posted…Not Sweet Enough? Add SaltMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Isn’t it?! I may or may not have let out an uncharacteristic squeal when I opened the card. >_>

      I love handwritten cards too! :]

  17. Margo

    What an amazing note! I agree that it would be a much better world if all medical practitioners really cared about the welfare each patient they serve.
    Margo recently posted…Brooklyn Fit Chick News & Notes: @FitBottomedGirl @TapGenes @TerryBikes @RottenBroadwayMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! I’ve gotten pretty upset at certain points this year with what I’ve seen, but I guess in a way, it shows me what I don’t want to become, so it’s a lesson of sorts.

  18. Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

    I really enjoy your Medical Mondays! Your compassion and obvious bedside manner are going to make you an incredible DR. Have a great day!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Nourish With Tofu Veggie Collard WrapsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thank you so much! I really hope I will be! :] Hope you have a great day as well!

  19. Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC

    compassion is something that is needed in every profession but especially the medical profession. kudos to you, lady!
    Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC recently posted…Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Training Recap Week 4My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Definitely agreed that it’s needed in every profession, but yep! I’d really love to see it more in the medical profession!

  20. Toni @runninglovingliving

    Compassion is key to great patient care, I hop eyou always keep that close to you. As a nurse I have seen many doctors lose that compassion along the way!
    Toni @runninglovingliving recently posted…Monday Motivation 3/30/15My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Me too! :[ I’m gonna do my best to always keep that with me though!

  21. Alanna

    Love this! I feel like if you work in healthcare, you must be there for a reason. Compassion is so important and special :)
    Alanna recently posted…Simple Kale SaladMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! Sometimes, I wish there was a screening process for that! There are definitely at least a couple people out there who enter it for the wrong reasons (e.g. to get rich) and they end up being completely miserable/making their patients miserable!

  22. Jess @hellotofit

    What a beautiful thing to say! Looks like you’re on your way to becoming an awesome doc ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Monday motivation – we must DOMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Jess! I really hope I’ll be awesome! ;D

  23. Elle

    How lovely. And I am sure it made you feel very special and cared for as well. Win win. Love it.
    Elle recently posted…Soggy Sunday Bluesโ€ฆ and Pinks and Yellows and GreensMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      It definitely did! :]! Gotta love those win-win parts of life!

  24. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    That is so touching and wonderful! Compassion is needed in every interaction we have!
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Fruity Banana Coconut PancakesMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! It makes such a big difference! :]!

  25. Kristy @Runaway Bridal Planner

    You’re going to be a great Dr one day, and I don’t doubt that a bit!
    I think what the lady said to you is absolutely so sweet, and really shows how much kindness even if just a listening ear you showed.
    Sometimes I get annoyed when I am forced to visit an instacare, I know they are Dr’s who literally have like 5 minutes with each patient, but I hate feeling like a number, or feeling like they are just repeating something they read in a medical journal and figuring it applies to my case. I don’t visit Dr’s very often (thankfully) but when I do, I really enjoy ones like my PT who take the time to actually listen and make me feel just as you said “Human!”
    Kristy @Runaway Bridal Planner recently posted…Great Week, Crazy Week…My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Kristy! I really hope I will be! :] What she said warmed my heart, and she’s honestly been through so much, that the fact that she’s still this caring and sweet is a true inspiration. She’d actually been in the hospital already for a couple days, so the fact that she could write this card for me meant that she keeps them in her purse with her to thank different people in her life! <3

      I'm glad you don't have to visit doctors too much either (yay for taking care of your health!), but I definitely see where you're coming from in regards to the ones that just blow through patients super fast. They'd be really good for people who are in a huge time-crunch and need to just get in and get out though!

  26. Sonali- The Foodie Physician

    Thanks for the shout-out, you’re so sweet! This was such an inspiring and heartwarming post Farrah. You clearly touched this woman’s life and that is a beautiful thing. Compassion, although so important in medicine, is often lacking. Thank goodness we have people like you in the field :)
    Sonali- The Foodie Physician recently posted…Dining with the Doc: Protein-Packed Vegetarian Burrito BowlsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I’m really glad that I could do something! :]! So often throughout this year (not gonna complain, because I lovelovelove being able to interact with the real world), I’ve felt like what I know and what I can do has been so limited, so I’ve been trying to find opportunities wherever I can! :]

  27. Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    You are going to be an amazing doctor. I see so many doctors on a daily basis who have such a terrible bedside manner and who just want to get out of that room as quickly as possible. Remember back to this when you have been a doctor for years and pride yourself in being one of the compassionate ones who care about people and not just the diesease! Kudos to you!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Paris Marathon training recap: Week 11My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks so much, Sue! <3 I really hope so! I think I'll definitely be looking back to this time (and this rotation! <3)--I've learned so much from it! :] I've been trying to work on my ability to not seem like in a rush when I'm talking to a patient, even on the inside, I am silently freaking out because we're swamped and I have a bunch of notes to write (e.g. today). I thinkkk it's going well thus far! ๐Ÿ˜›

  28. Patty @ Reach Your Peak

    I think everyone can definitely relate to this and use it in their every day life. I know that as a personal trainer it’s important to connect with your clients. I had an old boss who would pretend to care about the clients, but you could tell it was so fake, he’d be like” what’d you do this weekend?” then they would answer and he would be texting or doing something else, then 10 min. later ask something that they had already answered had he been listening. Those people are the worst!
    Patty @ Reach Your Peak recently posted…Week 13/52 of Training – 2015My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Definitely the case! I really think that if you can make a connection with your clients/patients/(really just anyone), you can make a much bigger impact on their life.

      I can definitely think of people that do that ask-how-you-are thing, and it’s so sad and frustrating! :[ Sometimes, I’m not sure if I should bother answering because I know they don’t actually care about + won’t hear my response anyway. :/

  29. Mar @ Mar on the Run

    aw, this totally melted my heart. You’re gonna make an amazing doctor!!
    Mar @ Mar on the Run recently posted…What’s Next?! Countdown to Pittsburgh Marathon WeekendMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Aww, thank you! I really hope I will be! :]

  30. GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth

    LOVE that you’re so caring with your patients! Hopefully you still get a chance to keep that up with you’re no longer a student because it’s clearly something you love doing ๐Ÿ˜€
    GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth recently posted…Ginger-Spiced Carrot BreadMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I really hope that I can too! There’s a very real possibility that I’ll end up being that one doctor that students detest working with because I spend so much time with each patient! ๐Ÿ˜ก

  31. Carmy

    CUTEST CARD EVER!

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! :D!!

  32. Sam @ PancakeWarriors

    Love this, I’m sure you made her year! I know when my grandmother was in and out of the hospital I really appreciated anyone that would take the time to talk to her and get to know more about her! You are doing an awesome job!!
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors recently posted…Fool Yourself Full with PistachiosMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Sam! <3 I felt the same way when my grandma was in the hospital--I was away in college, so I couldn't visit nearly as much as I would've liked, but I would've given anything for someone to be there to keep her company!

  33. jill conyers

    I know a few doctors who need to read this.
    jill conyers recently posted…Discover Your Inspiration from WithinMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      A lot of people are allergic to change, but I like to think it’s never too late!

  34. Sandra Laflamme

    Compassion is so important in the medical field. I am so appreciative when a doctor takes the time to get to know me and not just what is wrong with me. What a kind note! And happy belated Doctor’s Day!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…Oatmeal Blackberry Cacao Muffin RecipeMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Me too! It goes with my love for the philosophy of treating others the way I’d like to be treated! :]

      Thank you! <3

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