Essay On Patient Helplessness

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The article “Why Are We Doing This?”: Clinician Helplessness in the Face of Suffering, in the Journal of Palliative Medicine explores the topic of the unintentional reaction of helplessness by the clinician to a patient’s negative diagnosis or outcome. The article suggests that this feeling of helplessness is a key component of burnout and compassion fatigue. The authors propose a five-step approach to the internal processing of patient helplessness and that may result in an increase in patient outcome and the clinician’s personal health. The authors ultimate goal of this article is to stimulate the continued dialog and research on the topic by drawing on the ever-increasing developments in neuroscience, psychological research, and the effectiveness of contemplative self-help practices. Healthcare practitioners are not typically formally trained in dealing with clinically terminal patient prognoses and how these conversations may affect themselves or other members of the patient care team. The feeling of helplessness in response to a patient’s diagnosis may have cognitive, emotional, and somatic manifestations and these have the ability to elicit many different responses from an individual. In response to these emotions the clinician may have an initial reaction to blame themselves or even feel angry or ashamed that they cannot do more to…show more content…
Such as, the nursing staff may feel caught in the middle, only being tasked with carrying out the physician’s orders or the wishes of the patients or that of their family. Whereas the physician may feel that all of the decision making and risks associated with that are placed on them. These feeling of isolation can be mitigated by an emphasis on communication between the different levels of staff members and the patient, this allows everyone involved feel as though they have a say in the care of a patient and overall a feeling of

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