More Preceptoring.

I spent the day preceptoring another naturopathic doctor. It is quite a privilege to be let into the room while the patient discloses their health (and life-in-general) concerns to their doctor. The patient-doctor relationship is quite special: did you know that the everything a patient tells their doctor must remain confidential? (Only unless the doctor is asked to testify in the court of law regarding their patient or if the patient discloses information that is immediately harmful to him/her or to another person... but even in these situations it is tricky). Of course, I must keep all identifying details about the patients I see while preceptoring confidential as well.

Also, health is very personal and thus there must be quite a bit of trust between the them in order for the patient to open-up to their doctor. Doctors are often required to ask questions that are sometimes socially faux pas, such as discussing their patients' stool, mental-emotional woes, or even their sex life.

A doctor is not allowed to discuss a patient outside of their office. For instance, if your doctor saw you in the grocery store, they are able to talk to you, but they can't mention any of your health concerns. However, doctors can talk to colleagues or future medical students about patients but the doctor must refrain from using any identifying characteristics or details. Case studies are very valuable teaching tools; many of my classes this past year were based on the health of patients that my professors (who are doctors) had treated. On that note, I've been told that most of my learning will not occur in the classroom, but will happen in the clinic (either during my preceptoring or during my fourth-year as a clinic intern).

As an aside, I heard someone recently say that most MDs poke and pill their patients too much. MDs are accused of "poking" patients too much with vaccines, surgery, physical examinations, etc, and "pilling" patients too much in writing too many prescriptions for drugs. ...this a sentiment that I hear too often about MDs and one that NDs strive to never be described as!

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