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May 13, 2012 at 9:50 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

The "Art" of Medicine

By Jeffrey VanWingen M.D. More Blogs by This Author

I’m not a big fan of modern art.

Give me the traditional Monet or Renoir over something abstract. Honestly, a Jackson Pollack piece just looks like a bunch of paint spatters to me.

Renoir - Bal du moulin de la Galette (Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre) 1877Jackson Pollack -

I do recognize, however, that some people prefer this type of art, that the nature of art after all is about perception.

The art of medicine is much the same way. This blog will explore the art of medicine and how you can find the right doctor for your "artistic" taste.

My Art Critics

Twelve years ago I took over the practice of a retiring physician and despite hearing the endless statements beginning, “Dr. Walen would have…,” I made the practice my own, remaining true to the person and doctor I am. Thankfully, most stayed, though some people did leave. I wasn't surprised or hurt by this though. Expecting everyone to stay would have been like expecting perfection in a blind, arranged marriage.

They didn’t appreciate my "art", and that’s okay. Eventually, the practice became my own, and my patients were all comfortable with the way I practice medicine.

You and Your Doctor

What are YOU looking for in a doctor? Would you rather have a doctor who likes to listen or one who likes to talk more?  Would you prefer a doctor that attempts to educate from a variety of angles or one who keeps things simple and to-the point, providing information on a need-to-know basis? Are you looking for someone who works quickly to provide an answer or one who may hold off a little longer until they are absolutely sure?

Really, it boils down to the two-way street of communication.

The 3 Doctor Types

"The Mechanic"

The tend to be very technical and to-the-point. They are problem solvers who analyze and offer solutions.

"The Parent"

They tend to work by giving instructions to be heeded by the patient. They solve problems with prescribing advise and medication, having little difficulty in telling patients what to do. 

"The Guide"

They are conscious of the knowledge base of the patient, avoiding complex medical jargon. They prefer to work with the patient, educating them on their options and helping them to find the best choice for them rather than selecting one themselves and dictating that direction.

Personally, I see myself as a "Guide." 

I will help you improve your health, but YOU are the captain of your own health ship. In illness, I will help you understand the problem and provide you, to the best of my ability, with the means to return to health. This is not to say that I can’t be parental if I get the sense that a patient just needs to hear my opinion.  Sometimes patients just want to know - “What would you suggest if I was your mother/father/sister/brother?”

New Trends in the Art of Medicine

In years past, medicine was simpler. It was solely about medical science. Now, other factors must be chosen within formularies to prevent undue cost to the patient. 

A myriad of testing options require sound analysis. What NOT to order can be just as important as what TO order. Today’s art is about the judicious use of resources. It is about helping patients feel like they matter amidst the formularies and boxes they are put in as they circulate in the overwhelming expanse of corporate medicine. And, in a time where almost endless treatment options are available, it’s about temperament in the utilization of those resources. 

Medicine is a dynamic field steeped in variety. As you work through this array, know that you don't have to settle. Find a doctor that comfortable and welcoming to your priorities.  Adorn your medical environment with the art YOU appreciate. 

Photo Credits:

_ Krystian PHOTOSynthesis (wild-thriving) _



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