The Person Inside The Patient

November 13, 2019 by celia

Adrienne Barnes, a nurse diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, was featured in “Voices From The Lived World of Illness,” a video produced by the Center for Communication in Medicine. During the interview she shared her frustrations when her doctor tells her “there’s really nothing I can do for you.” (more…)


Transforming Medical Crisis into Opportunities to Find Meaning in One’s Life

October 16, 2019 by celia

The Center for Communication in Medicine, which I am a founder, decided that our next SpeakSooner Community Education Program on October 26 in Bennington would focus on the theme of transforming a medical crisis into an opportunity to find meaning and joy in one’s life. Planning this event brought to mind a woman whom I had known from time passed.

(more…)


Would You Prefer A Medical Fix or Good Communicator?

September 11, 2019 by celia

I recently stumbled upon an old email from a nurse with whom I worked with many years ago at the cancer center in Bennington, VT.  At the time she had asked me: “Do patients, really want their doctors/nurses to be human?  Or do they want them to do what they were trained to do and fix the problem? (more…)


Prognosis: Talking in Code

June 26, 2019 by celia

Prognosis is not a term familiar to most people unless used by a doctor to explain the expected course of a medical condition. Even then, the word or its implications may not be understood. (more…)


I Want a Doctor Who Can Say…

May 19, 2019 by celia

In my most recent blog What Do You Want From Your Doctor, I shared a response to this question by a patient who participated in the Writing is Good Medicine® program I facilitated at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center. (more…)


What Do You Want Your Doctor to Know About You?

April 29, 2019 by celia

In previous blogs I described my role as a medical humanist at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center (2002-2005) where I documented the patient’s understanding of their diagnosis, prognosis, treatment plan and the impact of their illness on themselves and family. (more…)


Do They Know What I Am Thinking?

March 27, 2019 by celia

Always interested in receiving feedback about the “Difficult Conversations Toolkit”, a patient asked me if I would read what she had written.  “I am unsure,” she said, “of how I have structured it.”

“I’d be pleased to read what you have written,” I said. (more…)


Doctors Have a Hard Job

January 30, 2019 by celia

“Few patients realize how deeply they can affect their doctors,” notes Dr. Scott Haig. In his Time Magazine article (10/5/2007) he goes on to say, “That is a big secret in medicine, which doctors hate to admit. (more…)


The Illusion of Caring—is That Enough?

January 6, 2019 by celia

I recently stumbled upon a writing exercise completed by a patient who participated in the “Writing is Good Medicine”TM, program, which I created to help patients put words to their experience of living with illness. Participants were encouraged to share their writing with family and healthcare providers in order to open communication about issues and concerns. For one exercise I posed the question, “What do you expect from your doctors?” (more…)


Questions Only God Can Answer

November 28, 2018 by celia

In the early 2000’s the Center for Communication in Medicine created a program for physicians at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center titled “Doctors Conversation Hour.” (more…)