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Who is “The Patient”? How to be “patient” in a healthcare facility


Introducing another category of Teethlicious Tuesday which will be alternated with oral health education. I know most of you will be interested in this, it’s basically the juicy experience, ideas & details of the nature of my job and will feature stories from other dental surgeons also. I will term “LOADS” abbreviation for “Life Of A Dental Surgeon“. In this category we will talk about the up and down side of the life of a dental surgeon, hence the upLOADS and downLOADS.


I like to form things just because ermmm well just because I can anyways without further ado we will talk about, ‘who really is the patient? ‘ I like definitions because it explains a lot.


The word PATIENT originally meant ‘one who suffers’. The patient is most often ill or injured and in need of treatment by a health care provider.

The one receiving the healthcare service is called ‘patient’ (although today some people are calling them client or health care consumers, that’s not what we are talking about today so scratch that).

PATIENCE is defined as capacity for waiting: the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties.

In my opinion, the one providing the healthcare service should be called ‘patience’ ie Nurse Patience, Doctor Patience (OK that got me laughing out really loud but I’m serious). Just like how an unknown person is called John Doe and Jane Doe. I think this should form the bases for all Nurses, Doctors and other healthcare providers because we really are very patient with our patients. So the next time you see a nurse or a doctor and you don’t know their name, you can apply the above (hehehe)



My experience so far is mainly based on public outpatient healthcare facilities, because most dental clinics offer a day treatment services and occasionally appointment based for follow up treatments, some specialty in dentistry deal with in-patients and that’s my field as time goes on with more experience will shed light on that. We will look at different scenarios in which both the healthcare receiver and healthcare provider can assume their ‘patient’ and ‘patience’ title.

Ready read on…..

Bio-data and History taking:

Healthcare recipient (Patient): What is required of you is to provide your personal details: name, real age (we are not worried about your retirement plans so you can be truthful here), where you live, if you take alcohol and its frequency of intake (Yes beer is alcoholic, you will be surprised how many people tell me they don’t take alcohol but they drink beer and soft drinks), if you smoke and how many sticks a day (even if you don’t want your parents, spouse or church members to know). All the little secrets pertaining to unhealthy habits, it might be connected to your present/past condition so you have to share that information with your healthcare provider. How far back you remember when your symptoms started is important, the questions might seem irrelevant to you, but be ‘Patient’ and provide the information.

Subsequent visits may involve many questions you’ve already been asked, and the healthcare provider understands that this can be frustrating. The reason we do this is to make sure that nothing gets missed. We are not trying to annoy your or accuse you of lying. We simply need to make sure that we have the most accurate picture of your illness.

Healthcare provider (Patience): You might know more about your patients than their closest friends or family do. You know their name, their address, their diagnoses, their medications, and their bodies. This is a privileged role, and you must treat it with respect. In history taking, explain dental / medical terms and be “Patient” without becoming annoyed or upset when they don’t understand what you are saying.



Healthcare recipient (Patient): The healthcare provider may know biology, pathology and predict disease process but you are unique. They are humans so can’t see or know exactly what is going on in your tooth and body so usually will require further investigations of the blood and/or radiographic pictures to confirm or rule out other possibilities. Expect this and be ‘patient’, even though you came expecting only medications or tooth extractions.

Healthcare provider (Patience): I know you have jobs to do, things to write. But talking to your patients and explaining procedures and tests only takes few minutes. Please, let your patients know that they’re not numbers they’re people. Or delegate someone to provide adequate information for them.

patient and patience

Treatments options:

Healthcare recipient (Patient): Sometimes, the health care provider can figure out what’s happening with you. We may be able to reassure you that you have an infection or give you treatment without doing further tests. Most times you come in expecting a certain treatment, e.g. tooth extraction, but now the dental surgeon is talking about root canal treatments and crowns and talking about treatments you did not even complain about but they noticed. Or they might notice your blood pressure is high or blood glucose levels are abnormally high and refer you for further management. Be ‘Patient’ they want to treat you as a whole person, they have long term vision for your oral health & over all well-being.

Healthcare provider (Patience): I know you have a lot of patients to see and discharge summaries to write, but persevere calmly when faced with difficulties. After providing the patient with all the treatment options and they insist on an out-dated option, although in your last CPD (Continuous professional development) they introduced a modern method with long term benefits. Be ‘patient’ don’t humiliate them but support whatever decision they make. Freedom of choice, they should just be ready to face the consequences however the outcome.

As a patient you may be bearing and enduring pain or the illness for a while but truly the healthcare provider is also enduring pain or illness you know nothing about. Because News flash “Doctors are humans”, I know you might say you know that, but have you really reached the acceptance phase or you are still in denial phase?. Expecting so much from your doctor who can also assume the role of a patient or is a patient also to another doctor.

So in the end in a healthcare facility we all really need to be patient and have patience.

Thanks for reading stay tuned next week for more teethlicious updates. If you found this helpful, feel free to share and leave comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Till then Stay Gorgeous Stay Professional.

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