I had a telephone consultation with my GP recently. At one point during the conversation, she started explaining something in lay terms i.e. no medical jargon. She did it really well, if I wasn’t medically trained, I would have understood everything she was saying. Whilst she was talking I wondered whether I should let on that I was a medic as well so she that she wouldn’t need to make as much of an effort, but I didn’t.
I thought it’d make the situation awkward and I didn’t want to throw her off. If she’d known she was speaking to someone like me before she dialled my number, she probably would have communicated accordingly. I don’t know much about this GP so it’s possible she may not have even batted an eyelid. A few of my colleagues have been in situations where they’ve had to put in cannulas in consultants (who’ve been patients) and it’s made them extremely nervous. I can imagine feeling the same. It would feel like you’re being tested on your ability to perform, like being in an OSCE situation but instead of doing it on a dummy, you’re being asked to do it on the examiner. No pressure.
I also didn’t want judgement. I can imagine patients might feel like they’re being told off if they smoke or if they’re overweight. Now, I’m the one seeking someone else’s insight and following their instructions. I didn’t want her to think ‘you should know this, you’re a doctor’.
Once, I was speaking to a patient’s daughter and I was explaining the blood test result. I was trying to do it in really simple terms and half way through she told me she was a nurse. It threw me a bit. I felt slightly embarrassed like I’d been caught patronising her which wasn’t what I intended. I just assumed, like most of the people I come across, that they would have minimal medical knowledge.