Love Your Patients!

Improving Patient Satisfaction with Esssential Behaviors That Enrich the Lives of Patients & Professionals

Scott L. Diering, M.D., M.A.

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Paperback - ISBN: 1-57733-141-9, 256 pages,
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Love Your Patients! is a guide to the words and actions that healthcare workers can offer to enhance any patient's healthcare experience. Written by a psychologist-turned-Emergency Room physician, the advice is gentle and uncomplicated, yet vibrantly enhanced by the colorful anecdotes from life in the trenches of healthcare.

The first section identifies love in healthcare as comprised of compassion, respect and humility. The second section critiques a dozen anecdotes which illustrate how good caregivers can behave rudely when they fail to act with love. The third section provides the scientific basis for the admonitions.

Love Your Patients! will appeal to students in all fields of health care, practitioners at every level, hospital administrators looking to improve patient satisfaction, and managed care groups who wish to avoid complaints and litigations. It is easy to read - secular, but with spiritual overtones. It will change people's lives.


Bernie Siegel, MD, author of Love, Medicine and Miracles and Help Me to Heal:
"Medical training needs to become a true medical education so doctors learn how to care for their patients rather than treat diseases. Scott Diering's book [Love Your Patients!] shows physicians how to begin the process and incorporate it into their practice of medicine."

Brian J. Browne, MD, Professor of Surgery and Medicine, Head of Emergency Medical Services at University of Maryland:
"Love Your Patients! is the perfect book for medical students, especially students preparing for the Step 2 Clinical Skills exam. This is an invaluable, inexpensive and enjoyable resource for students and trainees at every level."

Robert J Mallin, DDS, Past President and Founder NJ Academy of General Dentistry; Fellow and Master, Academy of General Dentistry; Past Pres. Middlesex County Dental Society; Past Pres./Founder N J Dental Research Group; former adjunct faculty Pittsburgh School of Dentistry:
"What Love Your Patients! proposes is so simple, so dignified, so proper, and so needed! It has potential for everyone in the healing/health professions, e.g., nurses, technicians, dentists, everyone. It's also a good gift, to be given by people to their health care providers."

Colleen Gallagher, CRNP, BSN, RN, Orthopedic Nurse Specialist at R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center:
"This is a fantastic book! It summarizes the heart of patient-caregiver relations. And it's great for nurses! Dr. Diering reminds us to treat the patient first, and the disease or injury second. This is absolutely indispensable for every advance practice nurse, nursing student, everyone in the health care fields!"

James D. Herbert, Ph.D., Associate Professor & Director of Clinical Training, Department of Psychology, Drexel University, Philadelphia:
"A must read for all doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers! Dr. Diering shows us all how to build bonds between caregivers and their patients. Unbeatable for medical students looking to pass the Step 2 Clinical Skills Exam!"

Anthony Stewart, RN, former Clinical Instructor, University of Michigan School of Nursing and Transplant Coordinator, Gift of Life:
"Finally! An easy to read book which tells us all exactly what we have to do so as to have happy patients! No complex theories! No confusing jargon! Just straightforward, useful information. And it's full of lively anecdotes, too!"

Table of Contents

Part I: What's Love Got to Do with It?
1. Introduction: What's This All About?
2. Who Are We? Caregivers and Patients
3. Love, Caregiver Style
4. Compassion: Love from Our Heart
5. Respect: Love from Our Spirit
6. Humility: Love from Our Intellect

Part II: Stories
7. Mr. Rillet and the Stream of Attentiveness
8. Mrs. McLean's Smoldering Concern
9. Mrs. Bejanez's Heartfelt Uncertainty
10. Mr. Buckram's Twisted X-rays
11. Ms. Carley's Bottom Line
12. Melissa
13. Ms. Griffin's Show
14. Mr. Mebae's Lesson
15. Mr. Leffete's Embarrassment
16. Ms. Zingle's Target
17. Ms. Horton's Story
18. Mr. Annuge's Patient Smile

Part III: The Art of Agape
19. Agape: It's Good for Everyone! A Review of the Related Literature
20. Those Who Can, Do; Those Who Love Their Patients, Teach!
21. We Are Individuals



Who is a caregiver? A caregiver is any person who may interact with a patient (or the patient's family) while the patient has any needs or concerns. Anyone.

Traditionally, we think of caregivers as nurses and doctors. However, in the office, clinic or hospital setting, every person with whom a patient may have contact is a caregiver. It does not matter what we do-security, pharmacy, housekeeping, reception clerk-if we have contact with patients, we are caregivers.

How can this be? We have the ability to impact a patient. We can set the tone for the whole patient encounter. We may need to touch a frightened patient, a naked patient, or a lost patient. Therefore, we are caregivers. No one is exempt. To our patients, we are all caregivers.

For example, I was once in a hospital where a confused, elderly inpatient slipped past the nurse's station and began to wander around the hospital. She wandered through radiology, past the cafeteria, and through the lobby. She passed at least fifty hospital employees, including doctors, nurses, techs, everyone. No one recognized her, so no one said anything. Finally, on her way out to the parking deck, a volunteer asked her if she needed help. The patient was slow to respond, so the volunteer checked her ID bracelet, and brought her back to her room. They got back just as the elopement alert was being given. That volunteer may have saved the patient's life, and she certainly saved someone's job. No one else who she wandered past noticed her at all. We can almost hear all those caregivers saying, "Not my patient, not my job." But this isn't true. We are all caregivers, for each and every patient.

We, as caregivers, have a unique responsibility in this world. We have the privilege of helping people who need help the most.

As caregivers, we are all in this thing called "healthcare" together. In this book, I minimize the distinctions between doctors, nurses, technicians, assistants, etc., because we are all caregivers. Every one of us is in the health-caring profession. After all, our goal is all the same: Provide excellent care, the best we can provide, for each and every patient.

When we love our job, and love our patients, providing excellent care is a lot easier.

"Why make a big deal out of it?" someone might say, "It's nothing special. Just go in, slap a little healthcare on 'em, get the job done, and get out. Nobody loves me, why should I love them back?"

This type of thinking is toxic. This thinking is toxic because healthcare is very special. In no other job are we given instant intimacy with another person. We are exposed to hurt, sick, dying, unhappy people all the time. And all of them, silently or loudly, call for our help.

The amazing thing is, we can help. We can make a huge difference in another person's life. We may not cure their cancer, or bring their baby back to life, or reverse their Alzheimer's. However, we can touch them, comfort them, and make a difference. With just a little love, we can make their suffering more tolerable.

And, we will be happier for it.

Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2004

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