Our society and many individual teachers and patients are extending to you a priceless learning opportunity. They are giving of their time and knowledge, and taking some risk, to give you an educational experience of great value.
You are working in a professional environment and you need to act professionally. Ask questions respectfully, and use a soft and pleasant tone of voice. Be kind to those around you.
Be confident, as it is contagious. When I was in the Navy, I was aboard a ship when we had a young woman sailor with a tender pelvic mass and high fever. We needed to evacuate her off the ship to a hospital. A helicopter met us at sea and hovered over the ship. The plan was to put her in a basket, connect the basket to a cable connected to the helicopter, and winch her up. It was very scary, and the patient was petrified. She had never flown in a helicopter, and this whole concept was so frightening, it was all she could do to hold herself together mentally.
Arriving with the helicopter was a Navy Flight Surgeon. He rode the cable down to the ship and came over to talk to this pretty sick and pretty nervous patient. He took off his helmet and had the broadest smile imaginable. He checked her over and then asked her, "Have you ever done this before?" She nervously shook her head no. "That's OK," he laughed. "I've done this a thousand times and never had a problem. You'll be fine."
As the corpsmen were making final preparations for hoisting her up into the helicopter, I whispered to him, "Is that true, you've done this a thousand times and never had a problem?" "Partly true. I've never had a problem, but this is the first time I've ever done it. I think it will be OK." He was a little frightened himself. The medical evacuation went fine and there were no problems.
I don't encourage misleading patients. Honesty is the best policy. But putting a positive spin on medical issues and beaming confidence to your patients will calm them, ease their mental pain, and usually leads to a better outcome. Be confident.
Dr. "G" is the one physician I met during medical school from whom I learned the most. This was not because he knew the most medicine. He didn't. He probably knew the least amount of medicine of anyone I met. But despite that limitation, I personally learned the most about medicine from him, than from any other physician. I did this by watching him make rounds.
Dr. "G" was a family practitioner. He trained during World War II when the curriculum was accelerated to accommodate the war effort. His medical school lasted 2 years rather than 4. His internship lasted 6 months rather than 12. Then, he was shipped off to a South Pacific island, where he attended the medical needs of 600 soldiers for two years. After the war, he returned to Chicago and started up his practice and never had any more formal training. He didn't really know a lot of medicine.
What he did know, was how to take care of patients, and he was a master of that art. He had a large practice and his patients loved him. Whenever one was sick, he knew just the right specialist to take care of the problem. While the specialist was busy curing the patient's medical problem, Dr. "G" was busy taking care of the patient.
Mrs. Jones was a 78 year old woman hospitalized with diabetes, gout, and borderline congestive heart failure. Dr. "G" would walk into her room, and:
When he had spent about 15 minutes with Mrs. Jones, she was beaming. Previously, she was bent over, looking sick. When we left the room, she was sitting up brightly, smiling, and her breathing was better. The pallor in her cheeks was gone and she was thinking about getting up in the chair for a while. Dr. "G" made therapeutic rounds, and his patients did better than any of the other patients. 15 minutes with Dr. "G" was worth a whole nursing station full of specialists.
I don't underestimate the value of the specialists. They knew, I knew, and Dr. "G" knew who was making the right diagnoses, and providing the best treatment for Mrs. Jones' ailments. But the patients believed that Dr. "G" had cured them, and I believe there is some truth to that. I hope that as you grow into your profession, you will learn not only the best medicine, but also the doctor-patient skills of Dr. "G" so your patients will do as well as his.
Generally, you will be more effective in providing health care to women if you dress professionally. In an emergency, it makes very little difference what you wear, but a great deal of difference the quality of care you provide. In non-emergency settings, dressing professionally:
Professional clothing generally includes:
Professional clothing generally does not include:
Grooming and Hygiene
Your patients will typically respond better if they have confidence in your professional skills. Good grooming and personal hygiene are an important part of that professional image. This includes:
OB-GYN 101: Introductory
Obstetrics & Gynecology
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