My mantra for practicing medicine is to treat a person and not a number. We treat a wide variety of patients with an even wider variety of complaints. When someone comes in saying, “I have back pain,” that is just the beginning of figuring out what kind of back pain we are dealing with. Is this muscle, disc, joint, or nerve pain? Or is this coming from something else entirely? And once we determine what the source of the patient’s pain is, we have to figure out what the best treatment option is for that particular patient.
Finding A Solution
As a physician assistant (PA) this is part of the challenge that I find exciting. Not that I wish for patients to be in pain, but rather that I can help them find the solution to their pain. I have a huge amount of job satisfaction as I feel that I am part of the great number of patients that eventually leave better than when they first came in. Of course, there are some patients that we were not able to get to the level of relief that they desire, but I make great efforts to make sure they know their options and point them on to additional help as need be.
Treating Each Patient as A Person
The art of medicine is more than just diagnosing and treating: there is a human element and this may be one of the most important factors in helping someone. What is the person before me experiencing? What do they expect? Are they working two full-time jobs, stressed taking care of loved ones, and the idea of making time to go do physical therapy sounds absolutely ridiculous and near impossible to do? While to someone else, the idea of injections and medications sounds absolutely ridiculous and the only option they want to consider at this time is physical therapy.
This is why I encourage open dialogue with my patients. I want to know what they are willing and not willing to do and why? Sometimes I will try to convince them to do it my way, and sometimes I am willing to do it their way… all the while making sure that whatever we decide to do for the patient remains in their best interest and keeps them safe. Working with people to improve the quality of their lives is an honor and privilege. I am glad to be a part of the team of medical providers at Eastern Idaho Spine, Sports, and Rehab Center. Written by K’Lynda Snarr, PA-C