America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Back-Room Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System
“So I hear you have a gift?” she said sitting down with a bagel, apparently also trying to sneak in an early lunch.
Oh I do, and would love to show you sometime I thought. But I just laughed and said, “What do you mean?”
“I heard you did some sort of Jedi mind trick on Mr. Murphy.” I just shook my head. As much as I wanted to claim, yes, in fact I am indeed a Jedi, I couldn’t help but feel a little disenchanted. Those in the psychiatric field often claim that ‘medical people’ have no ability to interact, treat, or even recognize a mental illness….and I was starting to agree.
“This is not the patient you seek” I said, waiving my hand in front of her face. She laughed. I figured the least I could do was lure her in a little more before revealing my true sarcastic and condescending nature. “My Jedi mind trick was actually just taking an additional ten seconds to introduce myself, and ask the patient if I could see his wound….instead of just barging in and grabbing him” I said. Her eyes got big as she pulled her head back and looked at me with confusion. Oops I thought. That might have been a bit much. “Sorry, occasionally my mouth outruns my brain” I said, in an attempt to bring back that laugh.
“No….you’re right” she said, looking at her bagel instead of me. “But its hard, you know how it gets….and nobody cares that you have eight other patients to get to….” She said, almost looking ashamed.
“Oh I know” I interjected, “I’m just saying that when you have a difficult patient, sometimes its all in the approach. Slowing down, taking an extra few seconds can help set the tone for a patient that is scared or confused….I mean….put yourself in their place, before labeling them as crazy….”
She just looked at me for a moment, and then gave me the biggest smile yet, as if I had just serenaded her with a song. Evidently I was able to reel her back in with the sensitive male nurse routine, while hopefully enlightening her a little bit in the process. I couldn’t help but feel that our conversation had some genuine significance for her on a personal level. One thing was for sure, I had taken our work relationship to a more personal level, and attaining Jen was looking more and more like a reality.
“I’m glad we have someone from Psych” she said, her eyes now choosing me instead of the bagel. “So how do you like working with Gloria?” she asked. I rolled my eyes, and tossed the remains of my sandwich into the garbage.
“On that note….I think I feel the ground shaking, you better hide your food while I go find her….” I said with a smirk. She covered her mouth trying to hold in her laughter. I quickly made my way out the door before screwing up quite possibly the most perfect interaction I could have had with her. I looked back through the door as it closed, and caught her doing the same, still giggling.
-Kelsey David Burnham
Healthcare Beyond Reform: Doing It Right for Half the Cost