Choosing to Create Connection - Words of Wisdom from the Medical Axiom Master

"When done properly, your relationships with your patients should hold up in the elevator, in the lobby and in the grocery store aisle."

by Mark B. Reid, MD, The (in)Patient Experience

I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend medical school with a master of the modern-day medical aphorism, Dr. Mark B. Reid. Currently an academic hospitalist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Mark enjoys expressing his wisdom creatively through axioms which he catalogs on his website,

Many of Mark’s axioms reference provider attitudes and behaviors that are crucial to a great patient experience. I've asked Mark to share his thoughts on some of his most relevant axioms and will be sharing them in installments here on the (in)Patientexperience.


Many of your axioms - like the one at the top of this post - focus on important components of the patient experience, such as the connections we make with patients. What message do you give to young doctors to help them understand the importance of these connections to both patient and provider?

I think medical training over the past 40 years or so has required residents to adopt an attitude of survival and self preservation. When I was a trainee, I learned to prioritize illness, make proper decisions, and avoid disaster. Fast. In order to do so, I was taught to avoid unnecessary work and push aside obstacles that might limit my ability to accomplish these aims. I remember distinctly feeling like I was being torn in two sometimes by the need to "treat 'em and street 'em" and the desire to actually practice medicine properly.

I have been a doctor for about 15 years now. What I have seen in these years is many doctors succeed and many more fail to make these connections. I have learned that our attitude towards work and our enjoyment of our career doesn't have much to do with how hard you work or how busy you are or how much you get paid. It has to do with how you construct your interactions with your patients to create connection. Happy doctors set up each interaction to be mutually beneficial. They pick a style of helping that results in appreciation. They give a little more of themselves emotionally, but get much more back in return. If you are doing it right, you will want to get up and go to work. This situation is not something that happens to you if you are lucky. It is something that you choose and construct intentionally.

Read the article.

Join the Network    
Users are able to post wisdom-related news & publications, maintain a profile, and participate in discussion forums.