Out of the kindness of your heart
That drove you to this profession
Out of the intelligence of your brain
That coated you in white
Out of the dignity of your profession
That you aim to respect,
You listen to his problems,
You ask the right questions,
You provide pills and explanations.
An hour then,
And two months later,
And two months after that.
He comes raging in today
Out of control
He hasn’t taken his meds
Like you had asked
And you both agreed.
How can you do your job when no one listens to you
This is part of it
I know it’s not ideal but
This is exactly how it goes.
© Kate Eunah Lee, 2/6/18
Author’s note: Psych discussions are so interesting. Today, we listened to a peer specialist talk about their work serving as a “bridge” between patient and provider. A peer specialist is someone who had been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness and has since recovered, to receive training and volunteer at psych units providing emotional support and understanding for both patient and provider.
During the discussion, the idea came up of how there are instances when a physician might feel disappointed in or about his/her patient when that patient fails to follow well-intentioned and well-informed advice. This can happen in multiple specialties – imagine a cardiologist or internist repeatedly telling a patient to exercise and the patient not following through, or in this case, a psychiatrist prescribing important medications for a patient’s mental sanity/safety and the patient deciding not to take them.
I understand that these instances can be frustrating, and frankly I’m not sure how I’ll feel if I’m in the shoes of the physician in a similar scenario in the future. However, today, I’m struggling to understand how a psychiatrist might feel frustrated/disappointed in a patient with mental illness who fails to follow orders. Shouldn’t the understanding of the bare fact that the patient has a mental illness override feelings of frustration/disappointment? Shouldn’t the physician feel contentment simply from doing his/her best to help, as he/she understands that regardless, it’s impossible (and probably not right) to fully control a patient?*
Should my thoughts change 4+ years later, I am curious~
In the meantime, back to neuro I go.
*these opinions are purely my own, and I’m not saying they’re right.