I deeply appreciate doctors and nurses who have been very kind and gone out of the way to help those I know and myself.
Some time ago, I brought an injured migrant worker to Alexandra Hospital and witnessed extraordinary care from the physician who attended to him. I sent Mr Foo Hee Jug, the CEO of the hospital a thank you note, and a book (Kitchen Table Wisdom By Dr Rachel Remen) to share with the staff. He responded positively and had shared my letter with his staff.
Another doctor accompanied my father to another specialists’ clinic just to make sure he was fine.
At the same time, my family and I have also experienced challenges with the medical system.
A few years ago, a doctor told my mother,“Your brother is wiping out the blood from the blood bank! And the nurses are being overworked!” My mum’s brother died. And what made the pain worse for her was the lack of humanity she had experienced through the way the doctor had communicated with her.
When my grandma had a heart attack, my mum was asking the doctor some questions. He exclaimed to her: “Why are you fretting?!”
Once when I visited my mum in hospital, her doctor didn’t even look me in the eye. I was the only other person in the room.
Somewhere along the way, I think some in healthcare get disconnected from the heart of medicine, which is healing. Healing is not just physical. We experience healing when someone makes a heart-to-heart connection with us.
Yet this means those in healthcare also need healing and compassion themselves. I can empathise with how difficult it may be to be kind when they are stressed and overworked.
The role of leaders in healthcare is very important. While serving patients, they also need to look at the wellbeing of their staff – which will ultimately affect patients.
It’s not easy but we need to find a way. Because the cost is too high when those who are healers hurt us instead. We are already in a vulnerable state when we are not well; we need extra care at those times.
This has inspired me to compile some resources for the medical profession. Please share this post with anyone in healthcare.
Events in the US
The Healer’s Art and Power of Nursing Faculty Development Training.
Integrity in Health Care: The Courage to Lead in a Changing Landscape
Soul Biographies series on Healthcare Transformation
Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care
Video of the late Dr Richard Teo speaking of how his cancer has changed his view on success and happiness. It’s rare for us to here of such real life testimonies in Singapore. Please watch. Then connect to the resources and thoughts I’ve shared on using death awareness to live well.
Dr Rachel Naomi Remen speaking to women doctors
Dr Rachel Naomi Remen’s campaign to “rediscover the practice of medicine as a spiritual endeavor”. – 7 minutes.
Dr Rachel Naomi Remen on Generous Listening in healthcare
Listen to a podcast of a patient and a special doctor.
Radio Show with Dr Rachel Naomi Remen
Dr Marty Makary’s trailer on his book “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care”
8 films Medical Students Should See
The Cinema in the Teaching of Ethics: Palliative Care and Bioethics
The Heart Of Medicine – physician-only wellbeing site
Dr Rachel Naomi Remen is both a physician and patient who has Crohn’s disease.
The Institute for the Study of Health and Illness provides “education and support programs for health professionals who practice a medicine of service, human connection and compassionate healing”.
Commonweal is a nonprofit health and environmental research. Check out their programme, “Health Care Without Harm”
Center for Courage and Renewal has a special healthcare programme.
Whole Health Medicine Institute has a physician training programme.
University of Minnesota: Centre for Spirituality & Healing
Sustaining Compassion in Health Care
Key in “doctors” into the search engine of http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/ for various articles.
Key in “healthcare” into the search engine of http://noetic.org for various articles and audio recordings.
Appreciative Medicine by Dr Tel Franklin
Benefits of Labyrinths in Healthcare Settings. See my interview with a labyrinth facilitator in Singapore.
Poems by Doctors and Nurses
Empathy, the Real Measure of a Doctor by Singapore-based Dr Jeremy Lim
A Vision to Heal Healthcare by Dr Lissa Rankin
Blog by Paul Levy, former CEO of a Boston Hospital on patient-driven care (many links)
Articles by Theresa Brown, RN and author of “Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between”
Healers on Healing by Richard Carlson, Benjamin Shield, Bruce Joy
Mind Over Medicine by Dr Lissa Rankin
Humanizing Health Care – Creating Cultures of Compassion in Health Care with Nonviolent Communication
by Melanie Sears, RN, MBA
Kitchen Table Wisdom – Stories that Heal by Dr Rachel Naomi Remen –
The Wheel of Life by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross – Memoir of an expert in death and dying. The book has examples of how she transformed healthcare systems through how much dignity and compassion she showed patients.
Love, Medicine and Miracles – Lessons learned about self-healing from a surgeon’s experience with exceptional patients by Dr Bernie S. Siegel
Deep Medicine – Harnessing the source of your healing Power by Dr William B.Stewart
Scrubs: The Nurses’ Guide to Good Living
Code Happy App for Nurses
My hope is also that the medical system is better integrated with alternative healthcare systems. There’s alot that natural and holistic methods of healing can do. Cooperation between the allopathic and alternative healthcare systems would benefit patients alot.
If I can be of support to help healthcare be more healing for patients, as well as healthcare staff, please contact me at vadivu[at]joyworks.sg. It’s an issue close to my heart. I am looking for kindred spirits to connect with on this issue.
*”The title of this post is borrowed from an online community Dr Rachel Naomi Remen has started for doctors.