Two Doctors and a Patient

by Jennifer Smith, RN, Australia 

Today at work I witnessed something very beautiful, although it was something very ordinary. I watched two of my colleagues – two doctors – have a conversation about a patient.

Nothing unusual about this, given that we were all in a hospital. What was beautiful was the way they were with each other and then the patient.

This particular patient had only very recently received a very serious medical diagnosis. There had been a lot of medical assessments, tests and treatments in the previous 48 hours. All of which is often very overwhelming for anyone in this situation.

As I went about my work, organising patients for my day, I saw these two doctors standing together, talking to each other, and one was handing the care of the patient over to the other doctor as they were changing shifts. The thing that stood out the most was how genuinely caring they were, especially in the way they spoke of the person. They were considering everything about this person and their family.

Together they then spoke with the patient in a very ordinary fashion, very professional, but also connected to this patient as another human being.

You may be asking, so what’s so special about this, surely it happens every day?

This is true, however what I love about this moment was that I observed it and took note.

You see only a few years ago I would have not observed the way that these two doctors interacted with each other and would have dismissed how they spoke with the patient.

Over the last few years, with the support of Universal Medicine, I have been able to look at some of the beliefs that I have firmly held onto. One of them related to doctors and to medicine itself. One of these beliefs was that I thought doctors didn’t care, being sometimes put off by their manner, which could be abrupt, impersonal and rushed. I had seen doctors rush with patients and patients often said that they didn’t feel comfortable in talking to them as they never seemed to have the time.

One thing that I have come to understand is that we are all genuinely caring and this is our true nature, but sometimes for whatever reason we don’t allow ourselves to show this.

The doctors and all of my other colleagues are genuinely caring people who really do care for their patients. None of us are perfect and we have some not so great days. But the fact that we care does not alter.

This is especially important to see in a system that can seem so impersonal and rushed, even to someone who works within this system.

The other super important thing here was the fact that I chose to see this moment, for I am now sure that there have been many such moments that I have not even noticed before. In fact I am now a keen observer of all that goes on where I work, and there are many exquisitely beautiful moments between patients, relatives, cleaners, kitchen staff…everyone in fact.

As I ponder on why I am observing this now and not so much before, I can only put it down to how I treat and care for myself. The more open, tender and genuinely caring I am with myself, the more I see this in others.

Even though at times we may behave in ways that do not reflect the truly caring beings that we are, I know without doubt that this is our natural way and I now regularly see this in other people – the bottom line is, we are in this business because we truly love to care.


Read more:

  1. From exhaustion and feeling false to feeling vital and truly looking after myself – another great article by Jen
  2. Nursing, me and Serge Benhayon
  3. Compassionate care 

880 thoughts on “Two Doctors and a Patient

  1. It’s like when disasters happen, and it gives people the opportunity to be in true community… The thing is, imagine not having to have illness or disaster to allow ourselves to fill this deep and innate connection.

      1. Exactly… And the more people understand this, feel this, and live this, it provides a reflection that is not there in the world now, it gives people the opportunity to feel that spherical quality that is our true nature.

  2. I wonder if this is why many doctors enter the profession as, as Jennifer demonstrated, it allows them to express love professionally.

  3. This is such an amazing reminder. Thank you, Jennifer. And I am also finding it to be true that when I can truly appreciate myself, I am naturally more available to observe and appreciate others for just being who they are.

    1. ‘Just being who they are’. It’s funny isn’t it how we all strive constantly to be someone or something else when all along we are the absolute gold. Our depth and our beauty are unparalleled anywhere outside of us and yet our eyes are permanently fixed on the Horizon of Nowhere which is permanently outside of us.

  4. A beautiful blog. I have always found that it leaves a glow when we express love, the way the doctors did or in any other way, even very commonplace ones like shifting our body to a more suitable position.

  5. It is so important to acknowledge and appreciate those moments of true care, however small they are, whether they are for ourselves or if we observe them in another. In doing so we deepen our love and understanding for each other and ourselves, and our own value, and then we are inspired to do it even more!

  6. My local GP is the most caring doctor I have ever personally experienced and when you are with her she is so genuinely caring and never in rush to get you out the door and the funny thing is she is always on time with the time the appointment was to start even though she sees so many patients in a day. It shows we can be caring and not in a rush but still get done what we need to do.

  7. I think it’s well worth appreciating moments of true quality that we clock, no matter how seemingly ‘small’ we consider them to be, not to take them for granted or dismiss what we have witnessed.

  8. Beautiful to read Jennifer, I had that sort of attitude for a long time following my training in naturopathy, an attitude that was well and truly bred throughout that course. I too have discovered many, many deeply caring medical professionals along the way, particularly now l’m prepared to see them clearly, without the blinkers I had on for the first few years of my career.

  9. When we care for ourselves we see the care in others. If a person complains that there is no care in the world then maybe it’s because there is no care in their world – between them and themselves. Rather than there truly being no care in the world.

  10. ‘In fact I am now a keen observer of all that goes on where I work, and there are many exquisitely beautiful moments between patients, relatives, cleaners, kitchen staff…everyone in fact.’ It is interesting how life seem to change around us, as if we were once blind and now can see.

  11. Through deepening the way we care for ourselves first we develop the ability to observe what is happening around with far greater awareness and understanding so that we are less likely to judge and compare but bring a true openness to our interactions with others.

  12. ” the bottom line is, we are in this business because we truly love to care.” – It’s important to express and share the truth underpinning every profession, otherwise we can get lost in the details and exhaustion of a ‘tough career’ (whatever it may be) and lose sight of just what we’re giving back to humanity.

  13. It’s interesting to clock that although we may know what is going on around us, we may not always be aware of the detail and care that goes into so many things. Thank you Jennifer for highlighting this, as to be an observer of life allows us to deeply appreciate others and what we all bring to the world, and the innate care that we all have within us.

  14. Thank you Jennifer, and goes to show how everyone has the ability to connect to the care that is naturally within us, sometimes it just gets buried under the hurts we allow ourselves to live by.

  15. Our quality of interaction with others is directly related to how we are feeling within. So if we are rushing our interaction will reflect exactly that – rushed, abrupt and maybe even incomplete.

  16. Pick any professional and add conversations of deep love and care from those they serve and then watch the potential of humanity to heal.

  17. The pressures on the medical profession are extreme, but even amongst it all, I have seen a deep level of care and love for patients, often masked by exhaustion, overwhelm and being so pushed to perform and see a never-ending stream of patients. If we brought more of this innate care and human quality into our health care, making it a genuinely person centred approach rather than a outcome based one, then Doctors would have more space to be people expressing their care through the profession of medicine, rather than being like robots in a system in crisis. It is proven that human touch, care and kindness during recovery is vitally important, but we cannot give to another what we cannot first give to ourselves – therefore self-care as a minimum for our health professionals is not just an investment in them, valuing them and all they give, but is an investment in the health of all of us who may one day become patients.

  18. When we are open to everything and everyone and yet solid in ourselves we pick up on what is needed. When we are holding preconceived ideas or a personal agenda then this awareness is often delayed or even not there at all.

  19. It is easy to go through life and become disillusioned by the lack of love and care that people treat each other with so I love that you have shared that as you have become more open, tender and genuinely caring of yourself, the more you have seen this in others…. It is also then, when we live this as our foundation, that we are able to not only observe what is all around us but also bring true care to another, reflecting to them what is possible.

  20. A beautiful observation, I love when I get more of an understanding for people. We can be so quick to judge but I bet if we all spent one day working in each others field, we would have a deep appreciation for what a day looks like for other fellow human beings. I think we would come to the conclusion that we are all the same, we all struggle and we all care deeply but as you say, sometimes, for some reason or another, that care can be hidden.

  21. ‘As I ponder on why I am observing this now and not so much before, I can only put it down to how I treat and care for myself. The more open, tender and genuinely caring I am with myself, the more I see this in others.’ True Jen, when we care for ourselves there is more space to observe, to truly feel what is going on around us and to appreciate others for who they are and in this example for how they care.

  22. This is beautiful – what a piece of writing , a shared truth of what we all might have on the tip of our tongue to express, but find it quite difficult. We all are there because we love to care, but at the same time we struggle with care in our own lives and for ourselves, hence that should be all we pay attention to this moment in time.

  23. Only yesterday I too witnessed two doctors discussing a patient on a maternity ward, where I volunteer. They were being so caring and taking a broader picture into perspective. Being a former nurse myself I had a picture of hospital doctors from back in the day, when I witnessed consultants – especially on ward rounds – talking over the heads of patients. Great to see changes in 2017, nearly fifty years on!

  24. “The more open, tender and genuinely caring I am with myself, the more I see this in others”. This is so true Jen, that the more we embrace certain qualities in ourselves, the more we naturally see them in others. As some would say, “like attracts like”, so really this is a beautiful confirmation of you also.

  25. It is a beautiful realisation that the more we care for ourselves the more aware we become of loving and caring actions of those around us and indeed the quality of these interactions will to some extent be ripple effects stemming from that care we give ourselves. We are seeing the results of our self care coming back to us.

  26. Thank you Jennifer, I can sometimes get a bit negative too on the fact people don’t care, but actually everywhere you go people express the care they feel for others (including strangers) in various ways. It may not fit the picture of what we want to experience or think care is, but the care is still present.

  27. Through deepening our awareness we are able to choose to observe everything around us in a way that we are able to read with a deeper level of understanding and nominating what we have observed is very confirming of our awareness and what is being offered as a reflection.

  28. Thank you Jennifer for highlighting just how important is for us to reflect who we truly are, that essentially love is our true way of being. As you have shared we often can get caught in emotions, losing sense of who we are and behave in ways that do not represent who we are. How healing and powerful is it then to be reminded of the truth, to be met with a reflection of who we really are and the love and care we all do ultimately crave to live, be met with and share with each other.

  29. The day is full of these moments. Our appreciation is what makes them shine and be seen for what they bring

  30. An amazing alchemy occurs time and time again if we see people for who they truly are. Even the toughest and most disheartened of men can turn around and meet you with the care and tenderness they naturally are. The world needs us to behold it, in the truth of our essence – it is then that the harsh pains and sorrows melt away and the essence we have within, starts to shine through again.

  31. We all do care, that is so true Jennifer, and despite how at times life may not look like this, underneath it all we do. It’s such an important reminder to look underneath and understand this and to know that how we live affects what we see, so the more we show our care for ourselves and others in the world the more we see care and the more we create a space for all of us to express our natural care.

  32. ‘In fact I am now a keen observer of all that goes on where I work, and there are many exquisitely beautiful moments between patients, relatives, cleaners, kitchen staff…everyone in fact’ This is true also where I work Jennifer and I find, if I open my eyes to observe, each day offers new moments of beautiful connections.

  33. Reading your blog today Jennifer I am realising how, if my level of self care is low, it discolours how I see the world. It is as if I have put a cloudy filter over my eyes so I don’t see the beauty around me.

  34. “You may be asking, so what’s so special about this, surely it happens every day?” On the contrary, it doesn’t happen enough. Or maybe if I handle myself with greater care as you have, I will see it around me more also?

  35. It is so true that the more we connect with our true loving and caring nature or essence and become more understanding with ourselves in our imperfections when we are not expressing this essence, the more we are like this with everyone else.

  36. Something worth remembering at all times: “we are all genuinely caring and this is our true nature, but sometimes for whatever reason we don’t allow ourselves to show this.”…hence this allows us to drop any judgements about another person, and to know that deep within we are all the same and all genuinely caring about each other.

    1. Henrietta that is a beautiful way to view people, that “deep within we are all the same and all genuinely caring about each other.”

    2. Appalling isn’t it that when we are all so genuinely caring that we can construct a world that is so barbaric. Barbaric may sound like a rather strong word to use but I feel it’s very apt. For me it’s not just the fact that we live in a world where we are able to kill, maim and torture one another, it’s that we live in a world that on a day to day level we are all so comfortable with being so horrible to one another, be that in the way that we behave towards each other, what we say to another’s face or behind their backs or even simply that we can think dreadful things about each other. And what’s so awful is that it’s so perfectly normal to most of us that we don’t even question it.

  37. This reminds me of my friend who was taken into hospital for stomach pains and ended up in a ward full of women who had liver damage and complications due to drinking too much alcohol. One conversation a Dr had with a young woman who had two small children was that she was going to die within the year if she did not stop drinking. He was very up front with her, but this directness stopped my friend in her tracks as she realised that there was no accident she was admitted onto this ward. At that moment she was feeling her choices and realised that she had to change her life, and the way she was living.

    1. What an awesome doctor and human being. It must take a lot of work on expression for doctors to be able to be so direct with others and thank goodness they can be. It’s very inspiring considering the directness we may avoid ourselves in our personal relationships.

      1. I’ve found that directness – or being very absolute can be very stark but can be very loving. Love isn’t about wrapping each other up in fluffy words, sometimes it’s putting a stop to an abusive way of life.

  38. People place a great demand on Doctors by constantly expecting them to heal them by correcting years of lifestyle choices made (and sometimes continue to make) with a procedure or some tablets but we must never forget that they too are only human.

  39. Great blog Jennifer which has made me ask myself how much are my eyes willing to see throughout my day and how much any ideals or beliefs I have can discolour what is true.

  40. I sometimes wonder if nurses secretly like to hear patients complain about how uncaring, rushed or dismissive their doctor is. This news gives value to the nurse, a niche they can fill by being caring, attentive and dare I say it, self-sacrificing. Nurses can significantly undervalue their own worth and this comparison with doctors can bolster their lack of inner worth. What needs to change for nurses is that they value who they are and what they bring, without any comparison or reliance on what we do for others. We all bring something unique to healthcare and our patients, that’s why we have a team.

    1. I have seen the same but with doctors viewing nurses in an inferior way to bolster their own false sense of self importance. Either way, the comparison erodes the quality of care a team can deliver. When a team can approach their work in equality and knowing the value each person brings no matter the job role it’s a very different experience for all involved. Equality makes for a much more enjoyable and harmonious work place too

  41. I love how you wrote that you are a keen observer of all that goes on where you work and I guess everywhere in your life, there is so much care to observe when we have opened our eyes or should I say our hearts for the love that we are and that surrounds us.

    1. I agree Susan and it is a revelation to most, as most believe that love comes towards them from another, when in fact it comes from them towards all and everything. Love is an emanation therefore when we are emanating love, whatever it is that we do or whoever it is that we are with, will be embraced by that love.

      1. I love how you have put this Alexis. Love comes from us towards all and everything. It’s not about grabbing at it, when we are feeling empty or bereft of it, as we haven’t given it to ourselves. When we feel this way we should be the first person to be with and consult with. This will grow that intimacy with ourselves and as a consequence refill us as love comes bubbling up from within.

  42. Absolutely beautiful when everyone works together as a team, taking responsibility for the care of the patient and those involved not only on a medical side but also those on the patients side too.

  43. As the article is saying I am sure this care goes on every day but most of us don’t see it or appreciate it or bother to express it to another, after all we are too busy. It goes to show when you take a deeper level of care to yourself how you can then hold this with and for others around you. We for so long have been taught and told to take care of others without turning that care to ourselves first. We treat it as something we need to do and not something to live first. I remember back and also even now the easiest person to see or listen to is someone that has lived what they are saying. As they say anyone can say anything but it is those that live their words that lead the world truly. If you are seeing around you a life that appears it is void of care then bring that care you are seeing is needed to yourself and keep bringing it and then bring it some more. We should never stand back when we see something is missing, we should roll up our sleeves and treat this as a point to go deeper with ourselves.

  44. It is true what you say, we are all naturally caring, as humans this is normal for us. We are not perfect and we are forever learning and letting go of what does not feel true. Our openness and tenderness is what supports to go deeper.

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