The Other End of the Stethoscope: Listening to the Heart In Our Care

Someday, every doctor (nurse, social worker, therapist, counselor) will be a patient. That is the foundational theme of one of my favorite films, called “The Doctor,” starring William Hurt, Christine Lahti, Mandy Patinkin, Elisabeth Perkins, Adam Arkin, and Charlie Korsmo.

Stethoscope with a heart

Based on the 1988 book called “A Taste of My Own Medicine: When the Doctor Is the Patient” by Edward E. Rosenbaum, it details a period in the life of surgeon Jack MacKee. He teaches his residents that being accurate in the OR is more important than bedside manner. That is until he is diagnosed with throat cancer. That’s when the tables are turned, and he finds himself at the mercy of a medical system that is not always patient-centered.

The exception is his colleague, Dr. Eli Blumfield, whose sensibilities lead him to speak supportively to patients under anesthesia at which MacKee scoffs until he has to go under the knife. He does a 180 and at the end of the film. He compels the medical students under his tutelage to strip to their skivvies, don hospital gowns and become patients for 72 hours.

How do you want to be treated? How would you want loved ones to be cared for should either of you find yourself on the receiving end of necessary medical intervention?

This class offers participants the opportunity to explore what it means to take ownership of their own treatment protocols.

Concepts include:

Healer, heal thyself.

Consciousness and awakening of our own process.

What we don’t feel, we can’t heal.

More than empathy…compassion.

Listening to our patients (what do they need?) Hearing them. Crying with our clients/patients as they feel it all.

Taking the time to be with them. Not just our agenda. It is a team endeavor.

Labels and language (the words we use).

Symbolic messages our bodies give us.

Bio-psycho-spiritual-social evaluations.

How to set up a healing environment

Meeting patients’ needs.

Trauma-informed treatment.

How to communicate with patients if you are treating them.

How patients can communicate with us as clinicians.

What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear

Vicarious traumatization for professionals.

Complimentary healing modalities (Laughter Yoga, EFT-Tapping, Reiki, Mindfulness exercises, meditation, journaling, movement, healing touch)

Life long learning. Staying up on continuing education.

The work of pioneers in the field

Herbert Benson

Joan Borysenko

Deepak Chopra

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Louise Hay

Andrew Weil

Bernie Siegel

Danielle Ofri

This class is offered for medical, nursing students, therapeutic professionals from all treatment training and background

Photo Credit – Shuttershock

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