Three learning moments that will influence my future practice are also three lessons to carry throughout all aspects of life, not just in the practice of medicine.
1. Health literacy does not equate with English proficient. I have encountered patients who did not have high health literacy, both before this rotation and during, who spoke perfect English. I have had the pleasure to meet several patients on this rotation who required a translator, yet were quite knowledgeable about their disease states and medications. As providers, we should be careful not to let the language of the patient influence your perception of their healthcare knowledge or health literacy level.
Lesson one: never judge a book by its cover.
2. High quality does not have to mean high cost. The care provided here at Siloam is outstanding, and everyone I have met demonstrates compassion and a sincere desire to provide the best healthcare to each and every patient. I have spent a significant amount of time trying to source medications for patients, whether that is from patient assistance programs, Dispensary of Hope, or the $4 generic list at Wal-Mart. There are times when treatment options are limited, but this month I have witnessed first-hand how diligently providers try to access the best treatment options available.
Lesson two: Where there is a will, there is a way.
3. Treat the whole person. I was sent on a home visit to investigate possible triggers for a patient experiencing exacerbations of asthma. Quickly upon arriving in the home, we discovered a very possible source: mold. After speaking with the patient and educating her, she was surprised and thankful to realize there were things in her environment that were likely making her asthma worse: dust, mold, air temperature changes. Was teaching the patient how to spot mold directly related to pharmacy expertise? Not really. Was it the right thing to do and best for the patient? Absolutely.
Lesson three: sometimes the best medicine isn’t a medicine.
Guest blog written by Kristy Oman