Do doctors make meaningful relationships with patients?

GoCubsGo20

2+ Year Member
Mar 9, 2016
500
664
Status
Medical Student
I was having a conversation with family and the question came up whether doctors make meaningful connections with patients. I said yes, trust is everything. Lots of family didn't think so. Am I nuts, or are they?
 
Oct 26, 2015
239
148
Status
Medical Student
Depends on the doctor, specialty and practice. You could see about 600 patients a year as a concierge doctor and make meaningful connections (your patients are paying you to.) You could also be an ER doctor, and although you may have some repeat costumers, they are usually the patients you like the least. You could also be a pathologist that never sees patients. At the end of the day it is all up to you, what you want, and what you consider to be meaningful connections.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Crayola227
OP
GoCubsGo20

GoCubsGo20

2+ Year Member
Mar 9, 2016
500
664
Status
Medical Student
Depends on the doctor, specialty and practice. You could see about 600 patients a year as a concierge doctor and make meaningful connections (your patients are paying you to.) You could also be an ER doctor, and although you may have some repeat costumers, they are usually the patients you like the least. You could also be a pathologist that never sees patients. At the end of the day it is all up to you, what you want, and what you consider to be meaningful connections.
Is wanting to make trusting relationships a major reason many people want to enter medicine? In your opinion of course.
 
S

spartawdw

I honestly love my OB/Gyn and she's the main reason I am interested in that field. So I'd say that's a meaningful connection.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
32,833
12,600
The Other Side of the Portal
Is wanting to make trusting relationships a major reason many people want to enter medicine? In your opinion of course.
When I chose to go into a primary care specialty, I never thought about the fact that longitudinal care might result in this type of connection, but I'd have to admit that developing that type of relationship is deeply rewarding and gives one reason to feel good about each day.
 
Oct 26, 2015
239
148
Status
Medical Student
Is wanting to make trusting relationships a major reason many people want to enter medicine? In your opinion of course.
Possibly. Some people go into medicine for money, power and prestige. Despite what others may tell you, some of them do successfully become doctors. The reasons to go into medicine are vast, and some are more legitimate than others. I would argue if your only reason to go into medicine is to make trusting relationships, you can find that easier elsewhere. In fact you can probably making better trusting relationships elsewhere, especially with the direction US medicine seems to be headed.
 

WheezyBaby

RSV Fomite
2+ Year Member
Jun 9, 2016
618
1,066
Status
Resident [Any Field]
The development of a "meaningful connection" should be a central goal of the doctor-patient relationship, if you mean "the development of a relationship in which a patient is willing to become vulnerable, confide in the physician, and to entrust the physician with their care". The ability to develop this relationship is, in my opinion, essential being an effective physician. If by "meaningful connection" you mean becoming chummy and knowing one another on a more personal level, by and large no, with the exception of specialties that have extensive interaction with a given patient or their family over time
 
  • Like
Reactions: Crayola227

MareNostrummm

D.O. Class of 2022
2+ Year Member
Oct 17, 2015
1,437
1,541
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Depends on how often the patient has to see their PMD etc.. If the patient is frequently of ill health you can probably make a better connection than someone who comes in once every couple of years.
 
OP
GoCubsGo20

GoCubsGo20

2+ Year Member
Mar 9, 2016
500
664
Status
Medical Student
The development of a "meaningful connection" should be a central goal of the doctor-patient relationship, if you mean "the development of a relationship in which a patient is willing to become vulnerable, confide in the physician, and to entrust the physician with their care". The ability to develop this relationship is, in my opinion, essential being an effective physician. If by "meaningful connection" you mean becoming chummy and knowing one another on a more personal level, by and large no, with the exception of specialties that have extensive interaction with a given patient or their family over time
I mean more so on the lines of trust and mutual respect. I think connection is a better word than relationship to use.
 

girlofgrace7

10+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2007
310
120
California
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
It depends a lot on the physician, the patients, and the setting. I absolutely have meaningful relationships with several of my continuity clinic patients and their families and patients I've seen multiple times in the hospital (especially the medically-complex kids who we tend to run into in the ER, wards, and PICU a lot). I'd say that, in general, the higher acuity/more serious someone's condition (provided they aren't in a coma), the easier it is to make that connection. A lot of the people from med school and residency I got closest to were ones I was there for their initial cancer diagnosis or icu stay. I've even gone to one patient's funeral during residency with my attending because we got close to the family, and it meant the world to them for us to go. Are there patients I don't have meaningful relationships with either because it's a difficult family/patient, a simple condition like an ear infection or cold I see them for once, or just because we don't click? Absolutely.... and that's fine too as long as I remain professional. I'd say anywhere where you have direct patient contact (ER, wards, outpatient, etc), there will be at least a couple patients you'll have meaningful relationships with, whether those relationships last 15 minutes or years.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Crayola227

moisne

5+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2014
1,486
897
Rural family doc knows everyone and everything about everyone. They are literally one big family.

Anesthesiologist in metro- downtown knows and remember ... what? 2 patient by the end of the year? They may remember their case - "oh we had a complication" but I don't know if they will know their dog's name or how many kids they have.