How does one approach patients with compassion, skill, and insight? How can we support healing by creatively intertwining these three elements? Inspired by a reflection by a friend in clinical training at Yale New Haven Hospital, I share the following:
“In our pursuit of helping others, we tap into our inherent human qualities — our instinct to nurture, to exude compassion, and to engage in the art of listening and learning. Patients, from diverse walks of life, act as our mentors, illuminating the path for us to hone our skills and unleash creativity and humility on our transformative journey toward becoming proficient health care providers.
A significant encounter transpired when the technicians introduced me to a patient in his late 30s, initially labeled as “disagreeable.” The shift in atmosphere was palpable when I delved into his life. It unveiled a profound affection for his 4-year-old son and an entrepreneurial ambition to transition from a physical laborer to a remote job, driven by a desire to overcome his current physical limitations and provide for his family. As he passionately outlined his plans, a deep connection with his human spirit unfolded.
In stark contrast to his ideal vision for his life, this patient grappled with the harsh reality of both a diagnosis and a hospital environment — a space where he faced incapacitation, pain, immobility, fatigue, confusion, and depression. Yet, his encounter with his addiction and illness became a canvas for a unique beauty to emerge. Despite the challenging circumstances, the patient exhibited a remarkable ability to smile, joke, and reminisce about cherished memories, casting a luminous glow over his day that transcended the confines of his infirmity. This “difficult” patient exuded a hope that could only emerge after deep listening.
These transformative events have ignited a personal challenge: to be a practitioner who is not only present but capable of thinking both scientifically and creatively. This is where, I believe, deep healing occurs”.
For me, continually sharpening my skills, deep listening, and honing insight are essentials in my acupuncture practice. It becomes more challenging outside of my office with family, friends, neighbors and community. How can we use these elements to create better lives for ourselves and those around us? The time and effort is worth it.
As usual, thank you for all of your feedback. I read each and every one!