We are surrounded by, indeed, bombarded by, negative feedback—all day, every day. We see it in our clinics - patients who are not at goal for their diabetes, formulary restrictions, patients developing diabetes complications, and the list goes on.
What if we hit the “reset” button?
What about pausing, for just a few seconds, to notice what’s going well with our patients, including those who are living with diabetes? Here are 3 thoughts on actively hitting “reset.”
1. Ask the patient, for a change, “What’s going well?”
This question is the flip side of the questions we tend to ask: “What bothers you about your diabetes?” or “What annoys you about your diabetes?” and that I’ve discussed in previous blogs. I find that eliciting the patient’s point of view on what is actually working in their self-care regimen can be encouraging and inspiring, both for the patient and for me.
Diabetes can be demanding and frustrating. We counsel our patients to perform multiple self-management tasks, all in the service of a larger and critical (if distant) goal: reducing the risk of potential complications that may develop decades down the road. Performance of these tasks may for some run counter to human nature as well as the urgency of daily life—work, bills, children, and a hundred other worries. Since our patients, like us, can be their own toughest critics, asking what is going well can remind everyone that no matter what the current struggles are, there is at least one facet that is improving or that is better since the last follow-up. Sometimes, the responses can be surprising, funny, and thought-provoking.
Next: Point out the Positive, Look for Support