Thank you for joining us again! Last week, we learned about ANEL – ANYTHING ELSE? This week, let’s discover what AVNI – AVOID NILISISM means…
AVNI – AVOID NIHILISM
Like many healthcare students, I began my clinical years of medical school with lofty ideas about I would help patients improve their lives.
When I heard my fellow residents and even some attending physicians discuss how patients with addictions “never change,” I remember thinking to myself then that people can change with the right help.
Although I really admired these physicians, I vowed that I would never become cynical like that. Instead, I vowed that I would always try to help patients implement positive lifestyle changes.
By the second year of my internal medicine residency, I’d treated patient after patient during multiple admissions for the same complications of their addictions. At this point, I completely understood my colleagues’ nihilism regarding patients with addictions and other conditions that are commonly believed to be self-inflicted.
Although I clearly remembered my naïve vow to help every one of these patients change, I found myself feeling frustrated and discouraged. I did not want to act with this nihilistic attitude.
It’s then that I decided to try something new.
I decided to continue to go through the motions of briefly discussing the importance of abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, drugs, etc., but in a nonjudgmental and caring manner.
To be honest, I strongly doubted that my words and suggestions would make a difference. I didn’t think patients would make changes in their life. The further that I progressed through my residency, the harder it was to act as if I believed that any patients would change their behavior based on anything that I said or did.
Yet I tried to keep my promise to not give up on these patients.
Then something happened one rainy day in the fall of my third year of residency…
Please read next week’s blog to discover what happens next – How I learned the meaning behind AVNI – AVOID NILISISM and now you will, too…