Humanizing Healthcare for Providers

Janae Sharp
DECEMBER 14, 2018


Social connectedness has a positive impact on health. Gratitude and connectedness are part of a core solution to loneliness and provider burnout.

This is part of a series of letters, published alongside the Sharp Index, to improve the connectedness of physicians and patients. You can find the first letter here.

Increasing social connectedness is one of the easiest solutions to physician burnout, and digital tools like the internet allow us to share gratitude more widely than ever before. Loneliness and burnout are increasing, and we can actively help.

What would you write to your physician or staff clinicians?

>> READ: Optimizing Physician Workflow to Minimize Burnout

Jamey Edwards, CEO of Cloudbreak Health, wrote a letter to providers. His work centers around humanizing healthcare. (It has been lightly edited for style.)

To our nation’s healthcare providers and first responders,

You help us in our times of greatest need. We sometimes are too scared and self-involved to remember your names. While you will all be patients at some point, we are all too often ignorant about what it is like to walk in your shoes. Thankless doesn’t begin to describe your position in the most noble profession of caring. It’s time to change that.

After having worked with a leading multispecialty group in in the Southwest, I witnessed firsthand how difficult the life of being a healthcare provider has become. Our clinicians are under constant regulatory scrutiny and live in malpractice fear. They work in dangerous environments, exposed to us at our worst moments, and are constantly being asked to do more with less. See more patients. Faster, please. Try and build a rapport with your patient, but document in this electronic medical record first, which takes more time and prevents you from making eye contact in the room and being present. Did we mention that you’ll be making less than you thought when you entered medical or nursing school? It may take you longer than anticipated to pay your school loans and work your way out of such a massive obligation. As patients, we don’t pay for your care directly anymore, so we feel entitled. I mean, we have insurance so you should be at our beck and call, right? The digitization of things has gotten us used to on-demand services. Shouldn’t healthcare be the same?

Well, the odds are certainly stacked against you. Join a field because you want to help people. Invest your whole self in your patients and their outcomes. Ride the lows of a patient who dies or suffers on your watch. Success and healing are the expected outcome. Failure is everything else. You begin to depersonalize your patients so you can make it through the day without breaking down, because there is another patient to see with a different story and, hopefully, a different outcome.

That. Stops. Now. Please know we are watching. We recognize your sacrifice. We value your service. We do not take you for granted. We are grateful. We recognize the system you are operating within places constraints. We know that if you are running behind, it’s not in spite of us — it’s because you are making sure each of your patients gets the time they deserve. You don’t work in a factory. You deserve a thank you, a hug. Our appreciation and admiration, but most important, our respect.

Thank you for being our safety net. Thank you for working the night shift. Thanking you for seeing us at our worst and making us feel better. Thank you for treating us like humans. We commit to treat you with the same respect.

Thank you for taking care of those who no one else wants to take care of. Thank you for studying so hard and working tirelessly to hone your craft. Thank you for your commitment to healing and the Hippocratic oath.

We are sorry we don’t always show our appreciation directly, but know it’s there, because without you, where would we be?

Thank you for being a healthcare provider.

Sincerely,

Jamey Edwards
One patient of many.

We invite you to write a simple note of gratitude to your physician.

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