Regaining balance after "reality vertigo:" Teaching learners to attend to the psychological aspects of patients with chronic, nonmalignant pain

Research output: Contribution to journalShort survey

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Caring for patients with chronic pain is often challenging, even for experienced clinicians. In encounters with patients with chronic pain, office-based teachers have an opportunity to teach learners to recognize comorbid conditions that must be addressed to best help the patient. During these encounters, office-based teachers can also demonstrate patient-centered care, empathic responding, and useful cognitive-behavioral strategies, such as reframing negative thoughts and enhancing one's well-being through diaphragmatic breathing. Learning to care for patients with chronic pain cannot be adequately learned through textbooks, and when the office-based teacher takes the time to teach and demonstrate how to care for these patients, it can be extremely useful for learners. Finally, it is of utmost importance that physicians and learners are supported and encouraged to practice their own "self care" to avoid becoming "burned out" from caring for such a difficult patient population. Engaging in pleasurable activities outside of medicine, getting adequate sleep and time alone, as well as time spent with loved ones, and discussing feelings of frustration about patients with trusted colleagues are a few of the strategies suggested. By putting oneself first, physicians and learners are better able to care for their patients and to help them move from the chaos and turmoil of reality vertigo toward regaining balance, perceived control, and hope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-89
Number of pages4
JournalFamily medicine
Volume38
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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