Ask a child what they want to be when they grow up and odds are pretty good that they’ll say “a doctor”. Scroll through the channels on your TV at any point during the day and you’re bound to come across some show that features doctors (i.e. “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Dr. Oz,” “Dr. Phil,” or even “The Doctors”). When Covid-19 shut everything down in 2020, doctors and the medical community were the world’s lifelines and became the epitome of the phrase “essential workers”. From a young age, we understand how revered and important doctors are in our lives and how our world couldn’t run as smoothly without them.
I’m Dr. Liudmila Schafer, a medical oncologist, Associate Professor of Medicine, and a Fellow of American College Physician (FACP) who’s been in the medical community for 31 years. Every March is a National Doctors Month and in honor of these heroes, I’d love to bring awareness to this special day and the amazing contributions doctors are making behind the scenes, as well as share with your audience the many ways they can recognize and show their appreciation for all the sacrifices that doctors make for our community.
- Plan ahead for your doctor’s visits: Doctors are constantly visiting patients and are tasked with seeing as many of them as possible every day. They are trying to give as much individual attention and care as possible, but they are under a lot of pressure from their administrators/hospitals to move through appointments quickly. Preparing for your visit ahead of time will not only benefit you but the doctor as well! Doing things like writing down your symptoms, creating a list of your medications, collecting your previous office visits, and knowing your family history are all so helpful to you and the doctor. It’s a win/win and the doctor will feel very appreciated, as well as appreciate you right back!
- Make a donation: Physicians have funds they use for research projects in order to advance the medical field. On your next visit, ask your doctor if they have a fund you can donate to or ask how you can help them spread the word on their quality improvement project or research.
- Follow their advice: Doctors are here to help you and give you the best advice they can to live a long and healthy life. When they give you their advice, take a moment to think about it and get a second opinion if you need to, but understand they are trying to help you and it’s up to you to be your best advocate.
The patient-physician partnership is crucial to improving patients’ experience at doctors’ visits. Not all heroes wear capes, some of them wear scrubs. I’m happy to discuss more and look forward to working with you on this.