Looking for Wellness In All The Wrong Places

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    Recently I accompanied my Diabetic and heart disease ridden husband to a doctor’s appointment for recurring shortness of breath and was once again reminded how wellness has still not infused the healthcare system. As a wellness professional I have “unrealistic” expectations than the system can support. I expect patients to be viewed holistically so all facets of their condition will be considered to determine the best course of action toward healing.

    Looking for Wellness In All The Wrong Places

    Now about the appointment. It lasted only 15 minutes with the physician already running behind after a longer first appointment that he couldn't control, and he reminded us several times about wishing to have more time to meet with us but was rushed. And even when he heard about my husband's cardiac arrest at age 12 that led to being cut open at the bedside for open-heart massage (yes - this was before CPR was invented) and he lived to tell the tale, he really wanted to hear the full history but was still too busy to listen to it all.

    Imagine that physician's frustration of not being able to hear about a critical health history piece that may have had a big impact on the cardiac episode my husband was currently experiencing. So I did feel sorry for him, but more than that I felt sorry for our present financially driven healthcare system that has allowed this to go on – and on - and on.

    I also realized that even tho that physician was destined to spend all his time in front of the computer reviewing history and ordering tests, I so wanted him to talk about the fact that perhaps weight loss and healthy eating might be part of the plan for preventing these symptoms. Yes my husband is noticeably overweight and eats all wrong (in my opinion) and carrying around that extra weight is certainly contributing to shortness of breath when he climbs stairs.

    But I also know that physicians have great power when they give advice to patients (more than the advice that comes from the spouse) so I was hoping he would suggest weight loss to my husband. But of no avail. No time and no knowledge of what to say when it comes to prevention. And so I couldn't expect that to happen. But I still have hope that things will change, but not soon enough for my situation.

    So why do we look for wellness answers in the wrong places? With providers like physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants who are all beholding to the medical model, this is not their area of expertise. They are all about tests, drugs and surgeries. What courses have they ever had on wellness and in fact, how well are they personally? But we still seem to think they are the only place to go for health information. Important note: please still use physicians and medical practitioners when necessary and in most cases as your first line of defense. But after that, may I suggest another expert that we need to add to our "toolbox" for improving our health.

    Wellness Coaches, like me (yes I am biased) who are able to provide:

    • Lifestyle assessments to pinpoint areas within your control that you can take action on without consulting a medical practitioner
    • Lifestyle coaching to explore your issues in depth, help you create a plan of action and keep you on track so you move forward successfully
    • Assistance in finding options for you to explore that can help you improve your health
    • Support so you don't have to travel your health improvement path alone.

    Yes this is a bonafide profession and needs to be valued as such. Often people think of us as counselors or therapists, but we are not. We are lifestyle experts with years of training who focus on you as the change agent and we support your ability to make the right decisions for yourself to move forward at your own pace. My experience from years of coaching employees showed me the power of successful behavior change when we are in control of our own destiny and not told what to do by someone else.

    Check out these websites for find out what Wellness Coaching is all about.
    KAPLAN UNIVERSITY: What is Health and Wellness Coaching?
    ICF - International Coach Federation

    So who do you rely on for health and wellness information?
    And how do you balance the need for both healthcare and wellness in your life?
    Please share your experiences.
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    6 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    Great article. As providers, we are being pushed to see more and more pts in a shorter time frame. Please don't think I'm excusing this behavior

    I had a similar occurrence recently where I went for a f/u after a major surgery and the MD literally spent less than 60 seconds with me. As my issue requires f/u for several years, I changed providers because I need someone who I can have at least a little dialogue with.

    Is changing providers an option?
  4. by   brillohead
    With providers like physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants who are all beholding to the medical model, this is not their area of expertise.
    I'm sorry, but I have a HUGE issue with this sentence.

    Nurse practitioners are NURSES first, practitioners second. To say they are beholden to the medical model is, quite frankly, a slap in the face. They went to school initially to become nurses, then advanced their training to become providers as well. But the NURSING model is their main focus, not the medical model.

    NPs, in my experience, treat the PATIENT first and the disease second, which is why I always choose an NP for medical care for me and my child whenever possible.
  5. by   UrbanHealthRN
    Wellness Coaches, like me (yes I am biased) who are able to provide:

    Lifestyle assessments to pinpoint areas within your control that you can take action on without consulting a medical practitioner
    Lifestyle coaching to explore your issues in depth, help you create a plan of action and keep you on track so you move forward successfully
    Assistance in finding options for you to explore that can help you improve your health
    Support so you don't have to travel your health improvement path alone.
    I can't help but read this and think that this also sounds exactly like what nurses do.
  6. by   Libby1987
    I'm sorry for what I know is going to sound snarky though not my intent, but this reminds of the need to print "do not eat" on those packets that come in shoeboxes.

    MDs and providers tell their patients all the time to lose weight to no avail (not to mention the waste of trees on brochures sitting at the reception window) but who in this electronic age doesn't have the wealth of information right in front of them?

    Our healthcare system has become in part what it is because as a society we drain the resources with our expectations without putting skin in the game.

    If only things would change with a few extra minutes spent on prescribing weight loss.
  7. by   country mom
    For a person who has diabetes, a referral to a Diabetes Self-Management Education service can be very helpful. Healthy eating, physical activity, and many other topics relating to diabetes management are part of the services. Most of my referrals come from primary care providers, and the provider in this story is a specialist, so perhaps it is not part of his/her usual practice. Here is a link to American Association of Diabetes Educators "find a diabetes educator in your area" search: Find a Diabetes Educator in Your Area
  8. by   traumaRUs
    Hmm...I am an APRN (CNS not NP) and I do follow the medical model of care. I too must see x-amt of pts in x-amt of time. I definitely don't have all the time I would like with my pts.

    I think that's just part of the US healthcare system as a whole though.

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