How Whole-Person Care Fosters Patient Engagement

Lauren Holmgren, former 4th year ETSU medical student who completed her rotation at our clinic in March 2014

Lauren Holmgren, former 4th year ETSU medical student who completed her rotation at our clinic in March 2014

Leaving Siloam yesterday was bittersweet.  Not only was I leaving a clinic I have come to love and people who had truly made me feel like part of the team, I was leaving behind my role as a medical student.  Yesterday was the completion of my very last clinical rotation of medical school.  I will never again walk into a patient room and introduce myself as “the medical student working with….”  Instead, the next time I walk into a patient room I will introduce myself as “Dr. Holmgren”.  As I reflect back on my time at Siloam, there is no doubt in my mind that as I transition to “Dr. Holmgren,” the way I practice will be shaped by the time I spent at Siloam.  I have, somewhat selfishly, spent a lot of time this month trying to figure out what it is that allows the patients and providers at Siloam to create such a nurturing and health promoting environment because it is exactly the type of relationship I hope to one day have in my practice.

The conclusion I have come to…. it’s a combination of a number of things.  First and foremost, the providers at Siloam are interested in the whole person rather than just the medical complaints of their patients—their dedication to providing care for all aspects of a patient’s life from their medical needs to their spiritual needs to their social needs.  This focus and dedication allows the providers to make the best recommendations for their patients but that alone is not enough to care well for their patients. The patients have to take an active role in their healthcare.  The care and dedication of the providers to take care of the whole person is something patients recognize and I think that greatly contributes to patients taking an active role in their own health, but Siloam also requires their patients to be responsible for their healthcare.  I see this as a critical part of the success Siloam sees.  Patients understand that the clinic is not going to ask them to contribute more than they can afford but at the same time, the patients understand that they have to be invested in their own care.
Additionally, the patients of Siloam are a wonderful group of people.  They have a wide variety of experiences that have shaped their lives but they are all grateful for what they have and the care they receive at Siloam.  All of these things together have made an exceptional place to learn and a great place for people to get exceptional care.  I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful clinic.

 

Guest blog post courtesy of Lauren Holmgren

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