Knowing the Patient

Eric J. Cassell

in The Nature of Healing

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780195369052
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979103 | DOI:
Knowing the Patient

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We use patient because the role of the patient has an impact on the person and, like all contexts and roles, is determinate in part of the persons presentation to the world. Physicians must train themselves. This includes not just knowledge and skills, but also habits of mind, temperament, and demeanor. There are many reasons why healers fail to know the patient. Knowing patients in all these dimensions, avoiding the pitfalls, remaining connected to the patient yet self-protected, meeting the requirements for a therapeutic relationship, and doing it all in the flow, urgency, and confusion that characterize clinical medicine are difficult. But it is possible to accomplish this with education, dedication to the task, persistence, and a lot of patience. With time and experience physicians get better and better at it. Whatever the physician accomplishes will make him or her a better healer.

Keywords: patient; aequanimitas; imperturbability; communication; observation; perception; knowing, barriers to

Chapter.  10409 words. 

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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