A fourth year Medical Student came to my office for a 2 week stay. He was choosing family medicine and wanted to see what it was like in the “Real World”. As I always do, I talked about my approach to medicine, knowing that I would be much more open with my patients than other doctors he had worked with.
“You have been told not to bring your personal beliefs into your conversations with patients. I call baloney on that. We all do that. Don't believe me? When doctors counsel a woman with an unwanted pregnancy, all give the same options- abortion, adoption or keeping the baby. Which choice you present first and how much time you spend on each will be influenced by your beliefs. instead of pretending I don't have any, I choose to tell patients what my beliefs are so they can recognize my biases as they make their decisions.”
Over the ensuing two weeks he watched as I shared stories, gave hugs, and on occasion prayed for patients who were hurting. He was pleasantly surprised to see that what he had been taught in school was wrong. Patients were not offended or put off. They felt loved and cared for, primarily because they were loved and cared for!
What was and is true in my office is true in so many other places as well. While hardly anybody wants to be preached at, everybody wants to be loved. We live in a world where fear of rejection or offense can keep us from loving others. Why not take the risk?