Learn this – and you will save lives.
If you want better answers – ask better questions (this does not mean interrogate the patient). It’s not your patient’s job to provide pertinent information.
Well, they have no clue what is and what isn’t pertinent.
Patients simply respond to what you ask without elaboration. For example, you have a patient coming in with fatigue. You get a finger stick and realize their glucose is through the roof.
Most clinicians will say that is the reason for the fatigue. Maybe – maybe not.
You should ask yourself why is it elevated? Ask about the patients meds and diet. You might uncover he isn’t taking his meds. Again, most will stop there and lecture the patient.
But, instead, ask yourself, why isn’t he isn’t taking the meds and why he is eating unhealthy – is it because he doesn’t care?
Why doesn’t he care?
Is it because his mother passed and has fallen into depression? Is he there because he needs someone to talk him out of suicide?
The amount of people who come in with one complaint (headaches, insomnia, weight loss, etc) – in which I uncover depression, as a diagnosis on the very first visit, is staggering.
I will often get, “wow you are the first person who has ever asked me about this”.
See, you can throw all the meds at a patient – but if they aren’t in the right state of mind – they will stay sick.
You need to fix the whole patient, not just the symptoms and labs.
This was something we covered in our clinical greatness program (currently closed for enrollment) – and the feedback has been amazing.
Also, before I go, Gray (our new emergency medicine PA) has posted a new video on sepsis for all of you. He goes in depth on this very complicated subject.