The Unconditional Patient? What is that?
The title of this blog was inspired by Alfie Kohn’s book Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason. The Unconditional Parent doesn’t use rewards and punishment to control their children. They give up control as much as possible and allow the child to flourish in a friendly environment. Bribes and rewards for good behavior are also not encouraged, the parent preferring to observe, comment and ask questions about the child’s achievements rather than giving praise.
The method worked pretty well with our 5yo spirited child and it allowed us to have a more relaxed atmosphere in the house.
Back to healthcare, there’s a disconnect between patients and physicians, even worse, I think there is tension. From the comments on the Kevin MD blog posts to tweets and to my own discussions with physicians, there is palpable tension, you can only be civil for so long, there’s always some point where one or the other will become defensive.
In my own relationships with my physicians I hope to become an unconditional patient and help them to use their experience and knowledge to help me and other patients be as healthy as possible. Unconditional means unconditionally loving, not blindly following. It is my health and my responsibility to make decisions, but I will value my physicians’ opinions as much as possible and will help them adapt those opinions to my values and personality.
This is an ideal, through this title I promise I will strive to become unconditional. I am an empowered patient and I am critical and subjective. But I will try to see and cut through my biases, and I will try to interpret everything with the best attitude.