Holding patient’s more accountable for their own health. How do we, as respiratory therapists, motivate our patients to put into action the lifestyle changes needed to maintain and improve their own health? A radical new vision of our profession is required. Moving beyond the traditional role of “therapist” we must recast ourselves as agents of health and change. As partners and allies with our patients, we must not just help them breath, but also learn how to inspire them to embrace their own wellbeing. This metamorphosis requires at least the following:
Time. The investment of time with our patients conveys caring and wins confidence. In today’s health care arena, time is measured in dollars. This will change. Time will be valued not in dollars but by the measure of wellness achieved by time spent.
Heart. Care and Courage! We must care for the whole person; those factors in their lives that impact personal wellness. Also, the courage to enter their journey toward personal wellness as part of the health care team.
Intelligence. Not just clinical expertise but social and emotional intelligence; that intuitive interpersonal quality that fosters understanding, patience, encouragement and cooperation.
Before we can motivate our patients we must first reshape ourselves as agents of health and change. Once we embrace our own need to change then we will be better prepared to assist our patients to take the steps they need. More on that next time