Patients have so many reasons to be frustrated by the current health care system. Insurances have become less affordable and often deny necessary care. Patient often have to wait several days to get an appointment, and have to wait prolonged periods of time in the doctor’s office.
We, as physicians, have our own frustrations as well. We are having to see dramatically increased patient loads at less pay. We deal with increasing insurance bureaucracies and paperwork associated with HMOs. We feel increasingly underappreciated by our patients. I have many physician colleagues who discuss finding ways to transition out of being doctors into administrators or other fields altogether in trying to address what seems like a hopeless situation.
As a physician, I often share in my colleagues’ frustrations, and I cannot claim to know the right answers. Each of us has to find our own path, but I can say with certainty that one of the sources of motivation that has kept me going as a doctor is the occasional note of appreciation I receive from a patient. Every once in a while, a patient will send me a typed or hand-written note expressing appreciation in some form; some notes thank me for just being caring; other notes thank me for changing the course of their lives. It is when I read one of these notes that I am reminded why I chose this profession, and for a time, many of those frustrations disappear.
So, if you like your doctor, considering sending them a note of appreciation.