Across the healthcare system there are universal themes that can be applied to several fields of medicine, such as ambition to make a difference, maintaining effective communication, and overcoming obstacles that one encounters throughout his/her career. Six University of West Florida students procured six individual healthcare providers and performed semi-structured interviews with the professionals in order to gain insight into the patient-provider relationship. Five of us interviewed providers in the field of nursing, while one us interviewed a provider in the field of pharmacology.
Within the domain of Nursing, our professionals included: a lead RN in the field of cardiovascular/thoracic surgery, a RN that works in the oncology department, a trauma RN who works in the emergency room, a RN who specializes in labor and delivery, a RN midwife, and a pharmacist. While both the midwife and pharmacist practice privately, all the RNs interviewed practice in a hospital setting. In the interest of length, the authors of this paper concluded that there were three characteristics most important to those interviewed: Why they chose their career, communication as a healthcare provider, and obstacles faced.
In conclusion of these interviews, the authors have learned that no matter what specialty in medicine one chooses, it entails a sense of professionalism, a sense of empathy, and sincere dedication to the patient. Career Choices In an article by Consedine, Yu, and Windsor (2013), disgust sensitivity was analyzed among students entering either nursing, pharmacy, or medical careers. The study found that those who were entering medical careers were less sensitive to bodily fluids and hands-on medicine than those entering pharmacy.
In fact, the study was able to clearly identify high disgust sensitivity among those entering pharmacy, but it was unable to distinguish the nursing and medical categories. In essence, the impact of disgust sensitivity on career interest was substantial and equivalent to established predictors of career intention. These findings were conclusive with our interview findings; the pharmacist clearly expressed one of the reasons she chose pharmacy is because she did not want to come in contact with blood or any other bodily fluids.
The nurses interviewed didn’t even mention disgust in their career criteria because it is well-known and accepted that bodily fluids are an inevitable reality to providing patient care. Despite specialty differences, all nurses expressed some main criteria in choosing nursing: a sense of fulfillment and a great passion for people, a nurturing disposition toward their patients that still requires a scientific mind, an ever-expanding field, and an influence in their lives- whether it was from family or friends depended on each individual; the surgical and trauma nurses were primarily influenced by familial wisdom.
Because both professions are concerned with secondary care, the allure of exciting and rewarding satisfaction in preserving life and defeating illness was a large factor in selecting these specialties. The pre-natal RNs emphasized that they wanted a career with a greater sense of fulfillment (such as bringing new life into the world as opposed to preserving life), very nurturing disposition, and working primarily with women- which largely influenced them in choosing prenatal.
Whereas the oncological nurse and the pharmacist were both very intrigued by the scientific, biological part of medicine; both professions require an abundance of knowledge in administering treatments such as chemotherapy or pharmaceutical drugs. The pharmacist we interviewed also expressed that the main criteria she used in choosing her specialty were due to logical reasons, as opposed to the Nurses, who chose more empathic reasons. While prenatal care is more focused on primary care, the three other specialties are more concerned with secondary care.
Secondary care may progress into tertiary care in the forms of treatment, pain management, and coping strategies once illness has reached this higher level of specialty care (Taylor, 2015). Pharmacy, on the other hand, is difficult to restrict to either primary or secondary care categories, as the profession has undergone health reforms since 1991. According to the World Health Organization (1997), “the operation of pharmacists has become broader, yet more strategic.
Pharmaceutical advisors now act as facilitators in developing the disease management culture, formulating prescribing guidelines that encompass both primary and secondary care. ” Communication As stated in Beach (2010), “Effective patient-provider communication is essential to ensure the best possible treatment out-comes for patients with HIV and other chronic diseases. ” While none of those interviewed expressed interactions with HIV patients specifically, all professionals have cared for patients with chronic illnesses over their careers thus far.
Patient-provider communication has been positively associated with better patient outcomes, satisfaction, and treatment adherence- across the healthcare spectrum (Beach (2010). In analyzing the communication aspects of the health professionals, we found that communication is extremely important. In the healthcare realm, one must be a “team player”, which requires communicating effectively and respectfully with those in the field. In order to establish trust with their patients, all professionals conveyed that they had to communicate in an effective, yet empathic manner.
Empathy, according to those interviewed, is also essential to providing effectual patient care. Within the pre-natal, surgical, and oncological nursing professions, nurses have more established relationships with the patients, whereas trauma nurses do not necessarily have the luxury of time to communicate in a more intimate manner- they experience missed moments of empathic observation as opposed to the pre-natal and labor and delivery nursing specialties.
In the ER, trauma nurses are more concerned with providing immediate, necessary information, whereas the other nursing specialties were more at ease with their patients, and allowed for a more open-communication environment. Trauma and surgical care nurses both preferred a more professional aspect of care, and limited the amount of intimate conversation and interaction; this is also due to a short-term, limited exposure care aspect to their specialties.
Conversely, with the pre-natal and oncological professions, there is a more intimate aspect, where they are allowed to know their patients on a more personal level than the aforementioned; these nurses expressed a level of deeper personal aspect than professional, and trouble in keeping adherence to professional decorum and distance. Simply due to the amount of lengthened exposure, this allowed for the nurses in these two specialties to keep a professional manner, but provide individualized care to the patients.
Conversely, Pharmacists have a huge communication barrier because much of their knowledge is empirical, dialectal, and informational due to the nature of their profession. Rarely, are they able to form a personal relationship with their patients. Although, the professional interviewed did express that she makes a personal effort to know her regular patients and become familiar with their typical prescriptions; she does this to such an extent that she knows when to call her regulars and remind them that they have a prescription refill approaching. Obstacles
Within the healthcare system, stress plays a large part in the healthcare professionals’ lives. In fact, there is a syndrome for the prolonged stress experienced by those in high-stress professions (mostly those who engage in personal services)- burnout syndrome. Burnout syndrome is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a negative self-assessment of one’s capabilities. According to a study by Malash, Schaufeli, and Leiter (2001), burnout syndrome is felt more acutely by women, along with higher levels of emotional exhaustion and a sense of personal accomplishment, whereas men had higher rates of depersonalization.
Despite these negative affects found in respectable literature, all professionals interviewed for the purpose of this paper relayed a high sense of contentment and satisfaction within their professions, despite the stress they have endured throughout their respective careers. Communication barriers were the most common problem across individuals interviewed. As stated previously, communication is essential to providing excellent healthcare.
Whether it be from a doctor’s illegible short-hand to a difference in language and culture, communication barriers are a huge hindrance into providing care to patients. Work overload and stress are another common occurrence in both the pharmacological and nursing professions- rarely do nurses or pharmacists have little work to do. A common occurrence in the Nursing profession is being over-worked and under-paid; all nurses interviewed expressed some sort of disdain toward the general, societal attitudes toward nurses.
The physical, psychological, and social stressors of the healthcare environment were referred to as huge obstacles by all participants. Surgical nurses can be in a stationary position for hours, whereas a trauma nurse can be running to and fro for extended periods of time; both specialties emphasized high stress due to increased death among patients. Coping with the intimacy and effective boundaries with the families of their patients were concerns highlighted by the midwife and labor and delivery nurses, especially during times of newborn or infant death.
In contrast, the mere constraint of time, “not enough time to take a lunch break” was the most challenging obstacle for the oncological nurse. In a different light, community pharmacists (such as the one interviewed), according to Pharmaceuticals Policy & Law, “are in an ideal position to make an impact on public health because they are accessible, have frequent contact with the public, and people do not usually have to book an appointment to visit them. (Real, 2014).
A challenge the pharmacist faces is the high traffic environment at her place of employment. Unlike more exclusive or private pharmacies, CVS takes care of a lot a patients each day- resembling a fast food place in service and attitudes by both patients and staff. In this rushed environment, a difficulty to effectively communicate important communication about the prescriptions provides an obstacle to the pharmacist.
In conclusion, all professionals interviewed stated that they receive a sense of fulfillment from each of their unique specialties. Among career choice, reasons expectedly varied due to individual preference, but across the spectrum of those interviewed, a sincere sense of empathy can be observed. Among healthcare professionals, excellent communication skills are needed and viewed as one of the most important aspects of their professions, but the extent as to what type of communication occurs varies.
Obstacles that each professional faced along their career path varied within specialty but had broad similarities. Communication difficulties and work stress were a common occurrence despite the specialty. When looking at the broad range of medical professions available, one may think that each one is vastly different. However, after conducting these interviews, the authors learned that there are many similarities with only detailed differences.