A Simple Gesture & Beautiful Story about Building a Therapeutic Relationship!

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A half hr later the pt returned & wanted to see Dr. O’Connor just for a minute. She held out… Click To Tweet

You never knowanne o'connor when you’re going to hear a remarkable story about a healthcare professional who is practicing and teaching inspiring ways to do our work!  Such is the case of former nurse now doctor,  Anne O’Connor , MD an OB-GYN physician from St Johnsbury Vermont!

Anne was part of the leadership team involved in a fantastic learning adventure involving 14 junior and senior nursing students at Endicott College.   They traveled to the Dominican Republic to volunteer and learn in Cotui,  a town of 50,000 people located approximately two hours Southeast of Santiago.  (You can learn more about the experiences they shared at their Tumlr blog:  EC Nurses Bridge the Gap!)

So, yes the trip itself sounds profound, but that is not the main point of this post!

The main point of this post!

My Zumba buddy and Endicott Professor,  Joyce Shaw, DPT, (also a member of the leadership team) shared how she got to see Anne in action as we were discussing how important communication and therapeutic relationships are!

Joyce explained how Anne has a habit of finding something about each patient to compliment her about as a way of making each one feel comfortable.  During one patient encounter, Anne told her patient that she really loved her earrings.  (Sounds simple doesn’t it?)  They proceeded on with the clinical visit and the women left.

A half hour later,  she returned and wanted to see Dr. O’Connor just for a minute.  She held out her hands and offered her the earrings she had been wearing earlier.   And as you might suspect, this patient, as many of the patients and families they saw, had very little in terms of material resources.  And what happened next is even more inspiring.  Dr. O’Connor accepted the gift on the condition that the woman accept her lightbulb handown earrings in return.  And then she went on to wear the gifted ones for the rest of the day!

Isn’t that a beautiful story that honors the patient and provider? Doesn’t it get right to the heart of the privilege of being a healthcare professional? I think so and I hope Dr. O’Connor is okay about a little light on her practice.  It isn’t the stuff that we can bill for, but it goes a long ways towards making healthcare about health and care!

It reminds me of another simple yet profound story, “Hi, I’m Doctor Salerno, Please Call Me Tony!”

This entry was posted in Communication in Healthcare, Complexity in nursing, Diversity, Heroines & Heros, Holistic Health, Listening, Nurse Leadership, Patient Advocacy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Simple Gesture & Beautiful Story about Building a Therapeutic Relationship!

  1. I received an email from Tony/Dr. Salerno who gave me permission to share this comment:

    “Dear, Beth,you’re beyond kind, however, that’s all the patients need.
    A hello, thank you, how’s your day going = (joke’s) in the ED. A visit to the ED is not normal for anyone. A couple day stay etc is sometimes extremely emotional and stressful for some.What Dr Anne brings to the health field is just another example of how important that extra step is. What a great example and yes indeed it gets right to the heart of the privilege of being a healthcare professional.”
    Tony
    Anthony M. Salerno, D.O.
    asalerno@neomed.edu

    THANK YOU, Tony!

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