The work of helping others is very rewarding but it’s not always easy.
Sometimes we hide behind the gown, a sign of recognition, a sign of knowledge. You should know that the white coat is not just fabric, the coat carries with it many meanings that patients interpret when they see you with her.
Usually authority sign, especially in doctors. To some patients it may indicate threat, to others it may be self-conscious and to many others it prevents them from being honest with what they feel or even lying about their symptoms.
Yes … the power of the white coat is such that it can even create hypertension in their presence.
The good part is that your attitude is what mark the relationship you will maintain with the patient and the robe can become just anecdotal, a picture with no attached fearful meaning.
Sometimes we hide behind the robe because we believe it is a super-powered cape that will make us feel more secure, especially when we begin our professional journey. Other times the robe becomes our shield against the emotions of others that we do not know how to regulate.
It is important to know the function that the white coat fulfills for you, because in it your fears, fears and insecurities are hidden. And although it temporarily helps you hide, feeling all these things for yourself, it makes you be ungenuine and natural.
What is the role of your gown and how does it help you cope with suffering?
Because you have to know that the only way to be yourself is being consistent with who you are at this moment of your life. And although it may seem simple, it is actually a challenge because it involves presenting yourself to patients with your real image beyond shields and gowns.
There are everyday situations in the work of health professionals that push us to hide or be consistent. Some of them are…
Not knowing what to answer: One of the usual situations that we can live when we help others, is that they ask us something whose answer we do not know. This situation can be experienced as a nightmare or as an opportunity to learn.
I decide to learn from every situation that comes to my mind and when a patient asks me something I don’t know, I simply say it … “I had never thought about it the way you are considering it to me”, “I am not informed about this therapy or technique you are asking me about, but I will investigate it and we will talk about it in the next session ”,“ I need a little time to reflect on what you have asked me ”.
I’ve come to realize that when I admit that I don’t know everything… nothing really happens. The patient does not abandon therapy or make a fool of me, in fact it may even make him or her feel good to be aware that he or she knows something that I do not.
Admitting that we don’t know everything is a sign of naturalness, that we are genuine and consistent. Because we could lie or build a complex answer based on our knowledge. But I consciously decide to work from my essence and that means being natural and sincere.
Requests for our personal opinion: It can be relatively common for a patient, a friend or a loved one who has to make an important decision, to ask us the dreaded question … “And what would you do in my place?”
This unwanted question confronts us with two possibilities: give our opinion about their situation or say what we would do in their place. The problem is that we will never be able to know exactly the needs of the other because each person is unique, sees life and makes decisions based on what it is like and their experiences. Therefore, I believe that we can never know what is good for another person, because only that person knows what they need and want.
On the other hand, I do not think that we ourselves know how we would act if we were in a situation similar to that of the other, because that depends on the vital moment we are going through, on our experiences, desires and needs.
Faced with these questions, I think it might be interesting to say something like: “I can’t know what I would do in your place because I am a unique person, just like you. We can find out what is important to you and what you need so that you can decide what is best for you at this time in your life. “
It may seem like an evasion, but in reality we can never know what we would do in the life situation of another person and our role is to help the other find what is important to him or her, without forcing or participating in a decision or other.
The great choice – Work from fear or from love: Living in coherence means living from our emotional world and that is an important decision … Do I want to work from fear or from love? If I work from fear, I will force the other to make treatment decisions that fit me or that I think is best (always from my point of view). In that case I stop taking the other person into account and take the place of knowing everything and even knowing what is best for the other person. In this case, the relationship with others will not be fluid and therefore I will not be able to help effectively.
When I choose to work from love, I assume that each person is unique and that each one knows what is best for him or her. In this case I do not have control over what will happen, I can only inform, accompany and support any decision. And when I work like this, everything flows … I am coherent, sincere and genuine and the other is also, reinforcing the therapeutic alliance.
What is it like to be yourself?: Being yourself is experienced as being comfortable in your own body and mind. It’s admitting that you don’t know everything and that the emotional world is very important. In my case, being myself is talking in a natural way and smiling, it is asking more than talking, it is giving the other space to reflect … without rushing … it is knowing that it does not matter what I think personally because the focus of my attention is someone different from me. Being myself is calming when anxiety comes, leaving room to cry when needed, is changing my goals in a session to adapt to what the other person needs that day and above all, it is to let the other person know that my support is unconditional.
And in your case, what is it like to be yourself?