Practicing Medicine, Practicing Humanity
Posted by Dr. Mark Grzeskowiak, MD, HMDC
My career as a physician has paired me with many facets of medicine. I have explored private family practice, treated patients in nursing homes and even treated infants. Each of these are wonderful and worthy specialties, but I never felt the visceral connection to them that I feel with hospice and palliative care.
This work is a calling. And as JourneyCare celebrates our physicians this month, I celebrate my colleagues who also feel called to serve patients facing serious illness or the end of life.
Our mission presents unique challenges. Unlike most medicine, you cannot “fix” the patient with prescriptions or surgery. Instead, our doctors must practice humanity just as much as we practice medicine.
We also have the pleasure of a unique level of collaboration with other members of JourneyCare’s clinical teams: nurses, certified nursing assistants, social workers, chaplains and other professionals. This team approach is what makes hospice and palliative medicine so special. We are all working together to help manage patient symptoms and help many face the end of life in peace. That is truly rewarding.
When not with patients, our doctors serve as leaders among their clinical teams, sharing their expertise. My colleagues also lead by example, having each other’s backs and filling in when the workload becomes overwhelming. At JourneyCare, I am always struck by how willing my colleagues are to help each other out. We all work together because we know it’s what is best for our patients.
The work of our doctors is not always easy. For me, the hardest part of what I do is getting to know a patient and then losing them. But JourneyCare physicians have a special resilience because they are sympathetic, patient and caring – both with patients and their families, and with each other.
I am grateful to call these men and women my colleagues, and to work together with them to bring the best possible quality of life to our patients each day.