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What Makes a Specialist Special?

What Makes a Specialist Special?

Greetings one and all…

I hope you are savoring a glorious day and loving life. It is a wee bit toasty in Denver today. The perfect time to sip a cold beverage and write. No doubt you have been dashing about in an effort to cover all of the bases today. So, please join me as I reflect on what makes a health care specialist special. As noted in my previous blog posting, I met with a specialist last week to discuss the current status of my recovery and to “tweak” the plan of care if needed. Since I had not met this doctor previously, I had no idea what to expect. Consequently, my imagination served to fill in the gaps of my missing knowledge—for better and for worse! Thankfully, the doctor exceeded all of my hopes and thereby alleviated all of my fears as well. My specialist is indeed special.

What is so special about my specialist? First, she walked into the examination room well prepared. Consequently, she didn’t spend the entire time staring at the computer screen and reading my chart. Instead, she sat directly across from me and maintained eye contact throughout the entirety of the exam. She summarized the facts. Highlighted the plan of care step by step. And thoroughly answered every question posed and then checked for understanding.

The second thing that makes my specialist special is that she practices the art of listening. Although my specialist had quite a lot to say, she also listened incredibly well. She listened to my hopes, fears, frustrations, concerns, and commentaries. I can’t remember the last time I felt “heard” by a doctor. Oh, what a feeling! She never rushed me. In fact, she actually encouraged a review of my notes to ensure that we had discussed all the concerning issues.

The third very special trait of my specialist is this—she truly cares about her patients. She appreciated the impact my current condition has on every aspect of my life and compassionately addressed my frustrations. She also recognized my impatience with the recovery process and helped me to establish more realistic goals. A blessing indeed!

And finally, my specialist is special because she is accessible and responsive to her patients. Before leaving, she offered a business card and noted the fastest way to contact her via email or phone. She also explained who to contact after hours or on days when she is not working. I have an open invitation to contact her if and when questions and concerns arise. I left feeling connected to and supported by this doctor—confident in our plan of care.   

The things that make my specialists special may seem quite ordinary: effective communication skills, familiarity with the client, good listening skills, compassionate spirit, and accessibility. However, in this day and time, health care provides often fail to recognize the extraordinary nature of ordinary interactions with patients and their families. It’s the ordinary things that interject the humanity into highly technical, complex medical situations. And by so doing, specialists serve the person instead of merely treating a disease process. Now THAT’S special! So, I feel incredibly blessed to be working with my special specialist. No doubt, she has set a high standard for other health care providers I meet down the road. Having experienced what is possible, I have no intention of settling for anything less than special in the future. How about you?   

I look forward to the ongoing conversation. If you have specific questions or concerns related to your caregiving experience, I would love to hear from you. Until the next posting, I wish you and yours countless blessings…jane  

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