i need to listen more
i need to listen more
As a doctor, and definitely as a mom, I need to listen more.
When you're a doctor, you try to master the art of interrupting. You have to because otherwise you will never make it to your next patient. But I sometimes (a lot of times!) need to remind myself to stop and listen. One way I've started to do this is to ask my patients (or their parents) WHY they came in that day. Or what is bothering them the most. I want to get to the heart of the matter, but honestly? Sometimes the heart of the matter comes right as I'm walking out the door.
Sometimes I will talk to a parent about their older child even if I'm only seeing the younger one because everything is right as rain for the younger one. But the older one has some other things going on that need to be heard. They need me to listen to it. And I do. (Or at least I try!)
And here is a large argument for a medical home: you need continuity. I've heard it time and again and I agree wholeheartedly. Prior to when I joined my current practice about a year and a half ago, I worked for many years as a part time per diem pediatrician at a community clinic associated with a children's hospital. As such, I went to all the different clinics and had very little continuity. It was a lot of work trying to piece everything together. (Though very rewarding as I love that patient population and the people I worked with.)
A big plus (besides also loving the people I work with now) to joining my current practice is that I have such great continuity. I love feeling like I can make a difference by joining forces with a family to work on one thing or another. And I love watching the little babies and bigger kids grow up. It's been so gratifying and heartwarming to me.
The only harder part is that due to the volume of patients we see every day, I don't always have the time I'd like to take with each patient. But I'm trying. And still working on the listening, every single day.
Silence is Golden
We've had two great talks from my daughter's middle school about parenting a teen/pre-teen in today's world. I have so much appreciation for the teachers and staff for sharing their experiences with us. One big take-away? Many of the teachers talked about how they let the silence speak for itself. In other words, if you stop asking questions and let your not-so-little one process their day, they'll just start talking to you. I've found this to be VERY helpful especially when I go pick up my kids. I want to ask a million questions about their day and I used to MAKE them tell me three things about their day on the way home. Now I just say hello, and try to shut up. Inevitably (unless their noses are already in books), they'll just start telling me about their days.
In our house, we sometimes all read at the dinner table. I've worked harder to make dinner time a no-reading time. Sometimes all four of us grudgingly give up our devices/books, but it is the only time the four of us are in one place during the entire day. I think it's a good habit to get into. Even if I have to remind myself constantly to get off my phone too! (Unless I'm on call....)
So, if I'm constantly writing on here about how I want to improve myself as a mom and as a pediatrician, it's because I do. I try my best to reflect on the things I CAN change and improve in. And while it may seem I may have a LONG way to go sometimes, I know I'll get there. Eventually.
Tell Dr. Bookworm
How do you put YOUR listening ears on? What tactic do you use to get your little ones to open up about their days?