Hello. This week, we pick up where we left off and finish learning what AVNI – AVOID NILISISM means. Isn’t it great to not take a formal test afterwards?!
AVNI – AVOID NIHILISM
… 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.
I was walking through the cafeteria when a woman yelled, “Dr. Adams, Dr. Adams, is that you?” A woman then approached me and gave me a bear hug.
She must have seen the confusion on my face! She then explained that she had been admitted to the hospital at least 10 times over the last couple of years for complications from alcoholic cirrhosis.
She said that I had taken care of her several times and that I was the “only one who believed that she could quit drinking.”
This woman then told me that I provided her with a consistent, nonjudgmental message that stopping drinking was the best thing for her health.
And know what? Her last drink was just over ten and a half months ago!
When I heard this, I had mixed emotions. I was excited for her, but I personally felt terrible because I knew that I was just going through the motions when I spoke with her — and all of my patients.
I did not really believe that I was actually helping any patient make lifestyle changes.
It was then that I realized that I had become almost as cynical as those that I worked with when I was a medical student.
At that moment, I decided that I would use this patient’s story to motivate me to discuss lifestyle changes with as many of my patients as possible.
Throughout my career, I’ve had countless examples similar to my encounter with this patient. I’ve particularly seen this in patients who were able to quit smoking with my help.
I’ve also discovered that I cannot predict which patients will implement behavioral changes. So, I make a conscious decision to spend a few minutes to deliver my non-threatening and nonjudgmental message to anyone who will listen.
Key Point: This is second lesson that I share when teaching each healthcare professional: Try to avoid cynicism. Instead, give your patients a chance to hear and accept your message.
Yes, that’s the meaning behind AVNI – AVOID NILISISM. Please read next week’s blog to discover what SUFA – SUCCESS vs. FAILURE means…