Clinic is very stressful for me. Most people want to have a personal connection with their PCP to establish trust. Also, my patients often sacrifice a lot to see me - their day off, hours on the bus, $$ for the exuberant parking costs or a rideshare, etc. At my institution, we operate on a 4+2 schedule, meaning I’m only in clinic every month (and my time in COVID collapsed many of my clinics), meaning that my patients have to wait a while between visits. This, compounded with the fact that many of my patients have multiple chronic conditions, makes our allotted 30 minute long appointment time slot laughably short (it includes rooming, vitals, and staffing with the attending).
I used to be very bad at cutting my patients off. Then, one day, I had the above situation. I was an hour late to my last appointment- with an elderly woman with mobility problems whose ride was coming in just enough time for her to make it to the lobby. She was in tears. She had arrived for her appointment an hour early. Since, I’ve been less accommodating when my patients are >15 min late, and I’ll often room patients myself when our (amazing) MAs are running behind. Once, I got chastised by my attendings when I announced that I would see my first patient, who had arrived 30 minutes late, at the end of my clinic day. Ya girl is a firecracker, so I snapped back - I felt that they weren’t being empathetic to my additional time constraints and my need to be fair to my other patients. But I still haven’t quite figured out how to balance respecting my patient’s time and being a compassionate, holistic provider. Any vets have tips?
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