Happy Heart Month, friends! Today’s post is something I hope everyone reads, however it’s really aimed at care providers. I’ve seen a lot of discussion floating around social media lately that’s centered around how care providers can better connect with or listen to patients and families. Obviously this caught my attention and it’s been really interesting to see what patients, families, and even other providers have to say. There are a lot of really great ideas, including taking more time to listen, brushing up on empathy skills, ask different questions, write things down, follow up, etc. All of these things are really awesome and important to do, but if I may, I’d love to suggest 5 simple words that you could say to a Heart Parent that could make a big impact.
“You’re doing a great job.”
Sometimes (or more often than sometimes) we feel like an absolute wreck. There’s the worrying, the googling, the “are you still breathing?” nighttime check (times 10). Before we step foot in the office for our kid’s appointment, we’ve already gone through the stress of trying to find the one pair of jeans that hasn’t been puked on or tried to remember whether the cardiology appointment was at 9 or 9:45 (“or was that G.I.?”). Then we show up, prepared to bombard you with our questions and our concerns and our cares…and you graciously answer those for us.
We don’t take for granted your knowledge and experience. You’re our expert and we need you. You’ve worked hard to be where you are and we couldn’t do this without you. And I know you’re always thinking about listening more or you have managers breathing down your neck about satisfaction scores. But if after you’ve just heard me rain down all my concerns upon you, you ended an appointment with, “Hey…I just want you to know that I understand this is difficult, but you’re doing a great job,” I guarantee it will change the dynamic in the room. Why?
Because I often have no idea what I’m doing. There are small moments where I feel like I’ve got this thing figured out and then others where I feel like I flat-out suck as a parent. Sometimes you miss the dose of a med and you’re killing yourself over it or you forgot to check his O2 sats this time and you never ever ever forget, and the groceries need done, and the sink is leaking, and I have to give my kids their gold stars so they know they’re doing a great job, and everyone everywhere is riddled with flu, and I just can’t…
Maybe…just maybe…a parent needs a figurative gold star and a pat on the back…just to let them know it’s going to be ok. And that you see them (even in their stained clothes) and you acknowledge the challenge…and that they’re not alone. A little encouragement goes a long way.
To all of our care providers: thank you, from the bottom of our heart! You are loved and appreciated and we’re so thankful to have you as guides on this crazy journey.