Treat the person, not the illness
“I will always recall my first exposure to psychiatry. It must have been in 2005. I was a student at University College London, in the liaison psychiatry team. I didn’t know what to expect. The consultant was Dr David Sturgeon. He attended to us as students, taking us for a coffee and getting to know us a little, from the outset. No other consultant had ever done this, and he put us at ease. We went to the medical ward to review a couple of patients. I’d never seen a doctor talk to their patients in this way – with such empathy and understanding. He was open, gentle, inquisitive – he knew how to conduct the examination to invite the patient to reveal such sensitive personal issues. It was like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.
Before that day I had an idea I would be an orthopaedic surgeon. What I saw on that attachment was a new style of clinical communication that I wanted to aspire to. I also learnt that it is our patients, and not the illnesses from which they suffer, that is the most interesting and rewarding aspect to being a doctor”Rory Conn