Sunday, 30 October 2011


It's a question I get asked on a fairly regular basis:

What makes a good medic?

In my simple mind, it's a simple answer.

Here's the test:

Would I be happy with you treating a member of my family?

If the answer's no, then in my eyes, you've some work to do.

If the answer's yes, then in my eyes, you're a good medic.

The test works when I look at myself in the mirror and check on how I treat my patients too.



Tom said...

I'd say you'd also need to be able to keep an eye on your humanity. It is something that's so easy to lose sight of. I'm a student nurse and well, given my previous life as an HCA I saw what happens to people when they lose sight of their humanity.

Dan said...

Prolly best I don't apply then ;)
Would love to do it but a) don't drive and b) would struggle - REALLY struggle with bad children stuff.

And what Tom said. I am related to an a&e sister in charge, and she is cold and hard and has no love or compassion for anyone. I understand the things she must have seen but she's let it change her.

If that makes sense. Ok, rambling...

InsomniacMedic said...

Tom - I'd say that humanity is taken care of when talking of how you'd wish your family to be treated - so I totally agree.

Dan - Losing that compassion is all too easy to do when all you see day in and day out is enough to jade even the most compassionate person. That's why we all sometimes need a reminder. The problem arises when that lack of compassion doesn't just hang around for a little while, but becomes the norm. Sometimes I think that that's the point at which to walk away...

Tom said...

Definitely IM. The risk that we all run is that we see just the patient as a series of problems that need to be solved. Keeping sight of the fact that the patients are people like us is a problem, it's not the #NOF in bed four but Mrs Bloggs, 90 with four children and a hatful of grandchildren. It was quite interesting to see how things changed when we had a colleague as a patient on my ward. I like to think I can give the same care to everyone and do it in the manner that's best for them. I know I have lost sight of my humanity at times and end up hating myself for it.

Tom said...

One thing I forgot to say in my earlier comment, I wholly agree with what IM says. That said, there is one thing that as a student nurse/HCA that you can't do is treat a patient as family immediately. You have to build this relationship with them during their continuing care. You'll learn what they are like and what liberties, so to speak, you can take with them. As you get to know them you find out how best to treat them and then it becomes more like treating a family member. I guess that as an EMT/Paramedic the earnestness of the situation I reckon that it's appreciated by the patient, one more thing to comfort them. I hope my rambling essay makes semse!

Nicki said...

I ask myself, "would I want ME as a medic if I were the one sick or injured?"