- Tell CV readers a little bit about yourself.
Hi, I’m Marilynn! I’ve been married to a wonderful, talented, and intelligent man for 46 years; have two amazing daughters; and an incredibly aware, smart 4-year old grandson. I am an energy practitioner, cookbook author, teacher, love music, people, healthy food, travel, the ocean, and am an activist for a healthy, environmental world.
I’d like to share a first person experience with a new practitioner. At first I was pleasantly surprised to receive a friendly greeting which put me at ease as opposed to being on alert with white coat uncomfortableness. This practitioner sat facing the computer and asked what brought me to the office. I thought, great we will get to reason for my visit quickly. However, the questions continued to flow without practitioner paying much attention to me and the questions were standard computer questions which warranted yes or no response or place to add a few words with most of the questions not having a connection to the reason for an individual visit.
I believe each person is unique and cannot be defined by the number of boxes filled in, but by their own personal story. Anyway, once all the computerized questions were asked and answered, the practitioner admitted to not having any idea what was causing my symptoms. A few suggestions were made that I had already tried with the exception to add a multivitamin and try a salve that was used effectively on cows that could be bought without a prescription. As the visit came to an end, I noted at no point did the practitioner look at the area in question, nor examine any part of me, order any follow-up labs nor a discussion to explore what might be the cause of the symptoms. The appointment was over and I was handed a printout of the visit that stated no return appointment needed. And of course the bill!
As an awareness guide for health and wellness, an energy practitioner, a teacher, and a cookbook author what is most important to me in my work is listening to my clients and students. Working collaborately with others on their health journey is important to me and it frustrates me how the new medical system is so lacking in compassion and the desire for health.
- What do you think is the most fundamental problem or concern we face in healthcare?
From my perspective, I see several concerns in health care today. One of the biggest problems is a shortage of adequate staff in hospitals, doctors offices and other healthcare facilities. Due to understaffing nurses are stretched too thin. Staffing shortages result in practitioners being overworked and unable to take regular break time. This leads to their forgetting their own basic needs and raises their stress load. As not enough personnel, patient’s needs are not always met in a timely fashion so patient’s may need to have an advocate to assist them or hire a medical person as often not enough staff to take care of everyone. Also in out-patient surgery, patients aren’t always given enough information prior to understand post care, as sometimes patients may need post assistance. I have also heard from some patient’s that they were instructed to do some self care that they might not be comfortable doing or should have a professionally trained person do. In short, too much is being left to the patient who may be ill prepared in these circumstances.
- What do you think we need to do to fix it? Or what’s one thing we can do that will help fix it?
Many things can be done. Having worked in hospitals and doctors offices I observed patients leaving looking confused, overwhelmed, with a handful of prescriptions. In looking at a standard office appointment, I’d like to see changes in the insurance time formula so patients receive adequate time to be listened to, treated with compassion, and receive an individual treatment plan for each person as opposed to relying on a standard protocal that puts patients into a generic box and send them home with a one size fits all prescription.
Often the quick fix solution doesn’t work for everyone, can incur repeated practitioner visits, as well as extra out-of-pocket costs for medications that weren’t helpful. This new policy would be one that treats each person with respect and focuses more on each person’s whole being with emphasis on lifestyle, stress, nutrition, exercise, self care, and other alternatives. Practitioners would then get to know a patient’s profile and what might be more helpful for that person to easily suggest lifestyle changes. Also when appropriate to incorporate alternative therapies first in patient care before resorting to medications, unnecessary testing and potential surgery until other less invasive avenues have been first explored. In the long run, taking time at the beginning as symptoms first appear and in evaluating the whole patient profile in the long run will free up practitioners time and help to empower patients in their own care. With this type of model practitioners work to help patients stay and become healthy rather than keeping them sick, help them to be hopeful rather than discouraged, and happy rather than fearful.
- Anything else you’d like to add?
As I’ve worked in various health environments since the age of 15, I got to know a lot of nurses, therapists, and social workers and how hard they work. Something I see that they all have in common is their compassion, caring, and dedication to patients. Often times these hard working practitioners go above and beyond their duties and their own needs without acknowledgement or kind words. I know being a health care practitioner can be challenging at times and their work can sometimes go unnoticed. With that in mind, I’d like to close by taking a moment to thank all the special practitioners who work hard each and every day juggling new medical protocols and still be able to care for those in need. Many thanks to all!
-With gratitude – Marilynn
Marilynn Carter has been cooking and working in the medical field since the age of 15. For the past 10 years she has been a Wholistic Health Practitioner as well as a health and environmental awareness guide at, Many Paths for Health. Marilynn is the author of No Fret Cooking that includes two original CDs of music to cook and dine by composed by her husband, Jazz Musician Steve Carter and along with him is cofounder of MAAT publishing company which they developed to help authors navigate the often confusing world of self-publishing!