To Care or Not to Care

As the year comes to an end, it always feels like the right time to take a moment to self-reflect on the year.

The most recent concept I’m pondering is the question, “Should you care about your patients?”

There are some out there who tout that caring too much leads to burnout and poor clinical decisions.

There are others out there who say one can’t provide services without caring.

Some verbalize that all that is required is a professional relationship and caring is not necessary.

Care is a verb… care = feel concern or interest.

Feel… that’s a personal, internal experience. So, when the question is asked about whether one should or should not care about patients, what is really being asked is whether one should feel anything toward their patients.

It’s interesting to me how we are learning the value of creating a therapeutic alliance to affect outcomes. And what kind of factors comprise a therapeutic alliance? Consider looking at brief version of the Working Alliance Inventory on page 43.

Crazy as it seems, all the studies I am aware of addressing therapeutic alliance are one sided. The studies focus on the patient and the patient’s perceptions. What about the physical therapist? The only article giving insight into what comprises an expert physical therapist mentions caring. Both the experts and the average physical therapists had “caring” qualities. It’d be interesting to compare physical therapists who create strong therapeutic alliances with those who create average therapeutic alliances. What if a qualitative study was done to learn about the physical therapists. Is there a difference between physical therapists in these two groups? If there is, what would be the difference?

Oddly, when reviewing the definition of healthcare the maintenance and improvement of physical and mental health, especially through the provision of medical services the concept of care isn’t even included. I wonder what would happen if a sprinkle of care were included and provided in healthcare?

Until next time,