Many of you know that I take great interest in the history of the Civil War, and often can be found immersed in a book or other historical document that chronicles that time of great upheaval and change in our nation’s history.
One of my favorite anecdotes from the period involves President Abraham Lincoln and a visit he paid to one of the Union field hospitals during the war. As Lincoln chatted with the doctors, one described a procedure that involved removing a soldier’s arm at the joint. It had been a difficult operation, and the surgeon went to great length and into much technical detail while telling the story to the president and to several other physicians gathered.
As the doctors began asking the surgeon technical and procedural questions, Lincoln burst out with the one query he thought most needed answering, a question no doctor had asked: “But how about the soldier?”
We ourselves are at a time of great upheaval and change, at least as they pertain to health care. The way health care is provided, and to whom, is undergoing a reformation unlike anything before it.
But what most assuredly will not change, and should not, is the commitment and dedication we as healthcare providers make to our patients. It is all too easy to be dazzled by the technical aspects of medicine, and forget the human factors that are so important. We must always remember that we are in the people business, and that making a person-to-person connection with those who seek our aid is essential to providing them with the best possible care.
WesternU is producing what this nation needs most: Health-care professionals who are technically excellent and compassionate caregivers. We are the ones who ask, “But what about the patient?” This art of caring, of making a human connection, is the essence of humanism. It is essential to what we do and who we are.