At the recent Australian Diabetes Society / Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADS/ADEA) Annual Scientific Meeting, I ran into one of my first endocrinologists. He was my doctor back in the day before I knew much about healthcare and even before I met another person with diabetes. I wasn’t sure why I was so surprised to see him there. After all, it was a diabetes conference for health professionals and researchers working in the diabetes field. Initially, I didn’t think much of it. But I remembered everything that he had done for me and how he inspired me to really pursue a career in healthcare, even though I didn’t realise it at the time. So I approached him to say hi, but what came out from my mouth was totally not what I had planned.Instead, I babbled like a little fan girl, thanking him for the opportunity he gave me over four years ago to choose the next step of my diabetes management. Not only that, I gushed on about how he inspired me to be a better healthcare professional and used that experience to demonstrate to others how powerful patient empowerment can be. I’m sure I made a fool of myself, but it was so important that he knows the effects of his simple gesture many years ago.
It’s easy to focus on every little drama and carry on about every little road bump that happens in life. Particularly in healthcare, we’re are often surrounded with problems and negative set backs that there are days you question the work you do and its worth. Too often, I have heard horror stories about people with diabetes and their healthcare professional(s). So when you do come across someone who is doing a great job, don’t forget to let them know! Not only does it help them feel on track with what their doing and give their self-confidence a bit of a kick, you’ll feel good too.
Today, I am a different person. I am very well versed in the healthcare environment and would go so far as to call myself an advocate for diabetes health consumers. I have a new family with my diabetes community – both online and off. Not only that, I’m even pursuing further research into the field of diabetes in young adults. I want to change the way people see healthcare and how healthcare see people. And it’s all thanks to people like my ex-endocrinologist who inspire, encourage and support me in the things I do. Even though I felt like a babbling baboon in front of my ex-endo, I’m sure he appreciated the effort and the ego boost. At the same time I was glad that I had an opportunity to thank him and to remind myself that precious doctors and healthcare professionals like him still exist.
Next time you see your amazing healthcare professional, don’t forget to tell them how awesome they are!