Rainbow Identifiers Among Healthcare Providers. Is it necessary?

I susbcribe to medical articles online and I recently read a Medscape article by a medical student regarding disclosing a health professional's sexual identity to gain trust & rapport to patients.

The author said, "I personally would prefer an out and proud lesbian with a rainbow identifier rather than someone with plain scrubs. At least I know the lesbian nurse is willing to let me know something about herself that I can relate to. Does this mean she's a competent nurse? No. But does it mean she's not competent? No." - Carl Streed Jr.

In my opinion, sexual identity among health professionals should be kept exclusive but undeniably. Our personal lives should have minimal or even have no place in the medical setting. That is to keep most personal matters outside the clinic, to control emotions, and to focus on the patient in front of us. When emotions is combined with medical decisions, it would be a havoc. It wouldn't do any good to the improvement of the patient's condition. Same is true why doctors aren't suppose to or advised not to treat close relatives because conflict ensues come medical decisions and options.

But come to think about it, when patients are in the hospital, in a place that is sterile, disconnected, and intimidating, it's easy to see patients cherish anything that allows them to relate to their caregivers and vice versa. There goes the difference and awareness between the terms transference and counter-transference. Healthcare providers may probably extend their personal lives to a certain extent to make patients somehow connected to his/her caregivers. But doctors and nurses should put boundaries or limit this as to not develop the "counter-transference" which may eventually lead to bias that affects the giving of medical options and care. Like I said, personal lives should have minimal place in medical setting.

I also agree to Carl Streed's statement that "Patients just want to connect. Providers just want to connect. To deny such an opportunity misses a large part of the healing process that occurs in medical settings."

I need patients to trust me and be very comfortable with me. In healthcare, we don't mean business. Patients are not clients. I was trained to treat patients wholistically because one defect no matter what aspect (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) can affect one more thing or the rest; a depressed patient may not recover from a simple cough.

In conclusion, caregiver-patient relationship is somewhat like a contract. Trust, connection, communication are very important. Sexuality may not be an issue to some but for others, it may still be. In my honest opinion, it still holds true to keep or limit personal matters outside the premises of the clinic room. Disclose personal issues if it can help a patient but one should know the boundaries.

*posted via Blogger app for iOS.

2 remark(s):

Raymond said...

Interesting topic you have doc. In the end it all boils down to the judgement of the healthcare provider if such disclosure would help :)

Oratech said...

Well written article. Healthcare givers really do care about people and those that they treat. That care should be the most important thing.

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