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A Lesson in Listening

Listening to a patient’s emotional needs helps an employee at Central Texas Medical Center figure out the underlying problem with her health.

3/2/2018  |  By Adventist Health System

A Central Texas Medical Center physician consulted with the diabetes educator about a patient whose hemoglobin A1c had gone up over the course of several months without any change in regimen. The educator reviewed the chart and decided to go see the patient.

As they began their conversation, the educator realized that the patient was already very knowledgeable about the disease. She said, “I’m just tired of it.” So he took the time to listen to her to understand the root of the problem, which obviously wasn’t a lack of education. The patient explained that she recently had to give up her own apartment because of a rise in rent prices, and that she had moved in with her son and his family. The situation was not very pleasant for her and the noise and clutter stressed her. And when she was stressed, she’d often lose her appetite or skip her insulin.

Although he did not need to teach his patient more about the disease, that day, by letting her open up, he was able to see that she just needed support handling her stress.