Doctors Need Support More Than We Think

February 24, 2020 by celia

We expect doctors to provide state of the art care and help us get better from whatever ails us. By nature, patients are self-centered and believe that doctors should only be concerned about our problems. (more…)


Patient Portal: The Good & the Bad

February 10, 2020 by celia

In my previous blog “Waiting for Test Results” I shared a conversation from the early 2000’s that I had with a receptionist at the cancer center about responding to inquiries for test results. (more…)


20 Years Later

January 13, 2020 by celia

It’s a new year but I find myself reflecting on times past. So much for the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne, “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind.”

What catapulted me back in time was a recent article in the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA) that highlighted the patient’s perspective of illness. (more…)


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.

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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…)