31 Days of CF: Nick’s Story

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by Luisa Palazola |

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Day 21 of 31 Days of CF ⁣⠀ Topic: Bridging the gap between clinician and patient⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Hello, my name is Nick and I have Cystic Fibrosis. I have thrived despite my disease. I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with my Master's in Food and Nutrition. I'm also a national public speaker, professional dancer, entrepreneur, patient advocate and fashion designer. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ I had strived to use my insight to bridge the gap between the clinician and patient relationship. As a speaker, clinicians ask me how they can make their patients take their meds and be more compliant. While these inquiries are appropriate and well meaning, they hardly help healthcare professionals have fruitful interactions with patients for 2 reasons: either they don’t know why their patients don’t take meds or they can’t relate to the provided reasons. This may seem trivial, but it’s not, not when it’s a byproduct of what I call the “healthy person’s mind-state”. Therefore, it is crucial that clinicians understand it is not our job to minimize or rationalize a patient’s reasoning, but to provide solutions based on the issues they present using the expertise, knowledge, and skills possessed. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Conversely, patients ask “Why does it take so long for me to be seen by my doctor or what certain clinicians roles are.” These questions are important, as it speaks to the fundamental disconnect for the processes associated with the healthcare system and the job clinicians execute. For example, a patient only knows they have an appointment time of 11:30am with their doctor, however, they don’t understand within that time they are also scheduled to see 6 other clinicians, each getting 10 minutes (that’s an hour). Plus, each member must coordinate seeing that patient and 3 other patients which takes approximately 10 minutes per clinician. The patient also doesn't see the social worker spending 3 hours on the phone trying to get prior authorization for a medication, or the dietitian at home searching alternative therapies until 8pm. This lack of understanding expands the gap and disconnect between clinician and patient. We need to treat each other as humans, not systems or labels.⁣

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