What does one pick when they choose their doctors? The number of letters behind one's name? The reputation of their medical school? How many papers they have published, or how many research grants one holds? How about something as intangible as personality?
One thing I have to constantly remind myself is, in doctoring, as in life, personalities differ.
Some people get along, some people don't. Probably applies to the physician-patient relationship too.
I've 'inherited' several patients from my colleagues, patients who no longer wished to see them. Why, I don't know, and didn't wish to ask. It certainly wasn't a lack of knowledge or clinical judgment, as some of my colleagues are pretty straight-shooters. I've also gotten some pretty positive feedback from some of my patients, here as well as from Minnesota.
However, something tells me I won't be seeing that young lady back anytime soon, the one I saw on Friday. Not that we had a disagreement or anything like that, but just I thought the meeting stayed very cold, very formal and very very guarded. Judging by her body language, I'm not sure if she felt like she trusted me. I can't say I did anything less or more for that patient than for any of the other patients I saw the last month for Graves' disease. But I did spend part of my weekend wondering if I might have done something to have made it smoother?
It got me thinking though about the above. I guess when it comes to finding your doctor, besides the plaques on the wall, the board certification, the experience, personality really does matter. Some personalities get along swell, while some don't quite fit as well. Just as how I didn't like that Mercedez car dealer I was working with last year (which probably became one of the dealbreakers for me in my final car decision) just because I didn't think he understood where I was coming from, I'm sure this is something too that people consider in choosing someone to remain their primary healthcare provider.
Me, I try to use humor to make my patients more comfortable. I also try to remind them I'm human; I have no qualms in telling them 'I don't know'.
And so, I sometimes have to remind myself, that while I'm thankful I get along great with a majority of my patients, and while I'm flattered that some others pick to see me after having seen other providers, I have to accept that there are and always will be patients who think at a different wavelength. And to not get too bothered by that.
It's after all, personal.