An illness is a subjective response of a patient to the disease and is a multifaceted experience with physical, psychological, moral, social and economic dimensions that needs to be understood and managed by health professional. Therefore, medicine is not just a scientific field and medical management is not just about giving medications and treating the disease but it is considered a profession that has to deal with all processes of life. There was a time in our history that the doctors were called “God” and the nurses were called “Angels” with a divine relationships between patients and their health professionals. However, over last few decades, this relationship has deteriorated, and mistrust has taken over. Our very complex health care system has left almost no place, time or emphasis for re-creating these angelic relationships. The evidence based medicine has turned to algorithm based patient care with no essence of humanity. Lack of compassion, connection, care and kindness is perceivable in many instances in our health care system. The physicians are now called providers and the nurses are just employees with large number of daily tasks who are pulled in different directions with no sense of pride and meaning. That also has created exhaustion, lack of interest and burn out among the health professionals. Therefore their job is just a laborious job and does not feel as a valuable and meaningful profession. The overall attitude is the attitude of indifference which has resulted more animosity and separation as well as many exhausted, and unfulfilled health professionals and unsatisfied patients. The recommended actions to resolve these issues and restore the relationships have not been really successful. Therefore, I would like to introduce Patient Health Professional Experience Project, “PHPEP” as an alternative solution.
What is PHPEP?
PHPEP is about understanding and appreciating the real value and meaning of patient care, promoting compassion, care and kindness in health care, creating an authentic connection and trust with patients and sharing positive human experiences. It is about building a unique culture in our health care where improving the well-being of health professionals and patient experience is the main mission. The idea is coming from a belief that the well-being of our health professional and patient experience are linked together and enhance one another. The experience is what we perceive, understand and memorize from an event. It usually stimulates an emotion in our mind with associated physiological changes in our body. It could be a positive or a negative emotion. These emotions are necessary for our lives. Negative emotions make us aware of outside danger, narrow our perspective to focus our attention and effort to get out of the difficult and dangerous situations and at times save our lives. The positive emotions usually broaden our perspective to life, make us see the world in a more pleasant way to motivate us to be a better human being. The positive emotions are not life saver, but they establish a reward system that not only make us feel content in a short run but also restructure our characters in the long run towards the state of well-being.
Medical profession is an ideal platform and remarkable opportunity for health professionals to compose these incredible patient experiences of humanity. Patient`s gratitude, joy and appreciation would not only make medical profession more meaningful but also generates a certain level of personal happiness and fulfilment in health professionals. This harmony of emotions enhances the effect of personal experiences, reform the individual characters and eventually offers a fundamental shift toward humanity in our health care.