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Not My Role

My practice has expanded to the Lexington area so I am just now establishing myself here. I was in Indiana for two decades so my reputation was fairly well known and most all my clients came from word of mouth. They pretty much knew what to expect, so to be doing client interviews again and answering potential client questions is a reminder for me on just how unique my practice model is, one that I think is more true to the role of the doctor than what is more commonly practiced today in conventional medicine.

Will you let me... or Do you allow...?

I can't even get past this part of the question. Let me explain. The origin and evolution of a word, also known as etymology, can reveal fascinating insights into a word's deeper meaning. A word's etymology can even provide valuable insights into our scope as clinicians. The word "doctor" for example can be traced back to the classical Latin word "docere," which means "to teach." This is the foundation of what our profession was originally designed to offer, but today, this is what separates me as a clinician. In my mind, it's one of our greatest responsibilities - to empower our clients through education.

In conventional medicine, doctors aren't really teachers; they aren't really involved in a give-and-take for the purpose of gaining knowledge and expertise. Rather, healthcare providers tend to see themselves as an "authority figure." The patient (a term I don't even use) is expected to listen to the doctor, receive instructions, and follow them. When a client is then seeking a new practitioner, this is how they frame their questions, in this mindset, and it's really pretty heartbreaking to me.

It is not my role "to allow" or "to require" or "to demand" anything. I educate and it really doesn't matter what you desire or decide, I am going to talk to you about the opposite potential, because I want you to fully understand your decision. It is my hope that you never figure out my personal position or what I would choose for my family because that doesn't hold any bearing on what is best for your family. I've had clients tell me they were "fired" for not getting a mammogram (actually several clients) or fired because they declined antibiotics. My own husband had a significant virus many years ago and recovered, but missed three days of work so his employer required a return to work slip. He made an appointment, and she offered him antibiotics. He explained he was fine, ready to go back to work, but just needed the work release. She said if he declined antibiotics she would have to release him from her practice for non-compliance. He left. The stories I could tell about vaccines is, well, a soap box of mine because no matter your argument, declining care for this or refusing to engage in discussion is unethical. Our healthcare providers have lost sight of their role.

I teach in two family nurse practitioner programs and this is a tenant I always discuss with students. We, as practitioners, have a responsibility to extend a collaborative model of care. We all whine as students that it is impossible to consume all the assigned reading and even comprehend it all. We fear the weed out classes such as Advanced Pathophysiology and Biostatistics Epidemiology, both of which I teach, and then ironically in the clinic they attempt coerce their client into making decisions they are most comfortable with, but know very little about themself. In fact, we can't even claim to be scientists if we aren't willing to engage in critical thinking in any aspect of healthcare, even the super controversial ones like vaccine safety and effectiveness. There are no absolutes. There is no proof. In fact, proof and science are oxymorons.

My role is to guide you in understanding your body and your own experience. Our relationship is about mutual-decision-making, mutual respect and expanding or refining our understanding of what is going on in your body, both with a scientific perspective and one that appreciates the art of healing. The one-size-fits-all mentality of conventional medicine just isn't working. We are not healing people. We have a sickcare model that is failing Americans.

As a doctor, I want to to offer true docere, a journey together to achieve optimal health and vitality. There is no firing for medical decisions about your own body. That is not my role. My line in the sand is kindness. If you'd like to connect and have a conversation about your health, call me.

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