Archive for ‘Books’

February 8, 2015

The Difference Between Care and Cure

My wife ordered a book a few weeks ago by Henri Nouwen, called “Bread for the Journey”. It was published posthumously and contains daily reflections. Nouwen is perhaps best known for his writings about the “wounded healer”. This morning over coffee, Emma asked me to look at today’s reflection, titled “Care, the Source of All Cure”:

“Care is something other than cure. Cure means “change.” A doctor, a lawyer, a minister, a social worker-they all want to use their professional skills to bring about changes in people’s lives. They get paid for whatever kind of cure they can bring about. But cure, desirable as it may be, can easily become violent, manipulative, and even destructive if it does not grow out of care. Care is being with, crying out with, suffering with, feeling with. Care is compassion. It is claiming the truth that the other person is my brother or sister, human, mortal, vulnerable, like I am.

When care is our first concern, cure can be received as a gift. Often we are not able to cure, but we are always able to care. To care is to be human.”

http://wp.henrinouwen.org/daily_meditation_blog/?p=3530

June 17, 2014

How Can We Judge Doctors of the Past?

A son, writing about his physician father, questions the actions and beliefs of the previous generation of doctors in his book, “The Good Doctor”.

The New York Times reviewer, Katie Hafner, writes:

“The Good Doctor” poses a fundamental riddle faced by every historian: How can we question the decisions and attitudes of our forebears without having experienced the contexts that shaped them? It makes for a particularly compelling discussion when the players are father and son, sharing as their lives’ work an ethically charged, ever-changing profession.”

From The New York Times:

Father, Doctor, Role Model

http://nyti.ms/1qlxKXj

March 29, 2011

Switch

I like to read “business books”. Especially when I travel I find it stimulating to read books from outside my usual field as I register the new impressions I get from new airports and new cities or countries.

One of the books I picked up at an airport a few months ago was “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath. Subtitled “How to change things when change is hard”, the book gave me a lot to think about as a doctor, whose job often involves trying to cause my patients to change for the purpose of achieving better health.

The three steps to consider when asking someone, even yourself, to change are described, metaphorically as:

1.) Direct the rider. This is what we doctors usually try to do when we tell our patients to eat less, exercise more or take their pills every day.

2.) Motivate the elephant. This is harder, because it involves addressing the subconscious, which cares very little about things like logic or what’s best for us.

3.) Shape the path. If we make it easier somehow to do the “right” thing than the “wrong” thing, people are more likely to do it.

The book has illustrations from all walks of life, from health care to teaching to sales. And, after all, practicing medicine is part teaching and part sales, too.

Switch | HeathBrothers.