Theme Room: Books
As you know from coming to the clinic, instead of having personal physician offices, our examination rooms are "Themed Spaces" and the physician comes to you. The aim is to dismantle the hierarchy of the patient entering a physician space, and instead to make the exam room a mutual area inspired by the art of medicine: the patient-physician encounter. A patient-physician relationship succeeds when it is based on respect and trust – but also when each party can see the personality and humanity in the other. Each theme was selected by people who sweat blood and tears helping this clinic dream come true. I've asked each to write a short paragraph on why they picked their theme.
My selection was the "Book Room." Given I have a PhD in literature that probably won't come as a surprise; however, my love of fiction is only one part of why I made this selection. To me, stories are the core of each patient-physician relationship. Signs, symptoms, ailments, algorithms: these are all the facts we're taught to help pin the tail on the diagnostic donkey. What really matters is the story – it is a commitment to understanding your patients, their families, their joys and their sufferings.
I tell my daughters every night to stay curious. As physicians, we can't focus on a specific diagnosis to understand our patients. The title of the book is just a place of entry and the start of the discussion. We need to be curious about patients to ask the questions that will win their trust and fill in the pages of their book of life.