The Power of Vulnerability – Why it’s important to your success as an OD!

Why all this talk about vulnerability?

I’m glad you asked! Whether you own a private/corporate practice or work as an associate, vulnerability is key to your success. As leaders and doctors, we are often taught to keep a distance and project a certain image of confidence, competence and authority. We may disclose our vulnerability to a spouse or close friend behind closed doors at night but we would never show it elsewhere during the day, let alone with our patients.

We want our patients to be transparent with us when we delve into very intimate questions, exams, and diagnoses all within minutes of meeting a person. It’s a lot easier for the patient to be vulnerable when we are open to do the same.  As doctors, we need to partner with our patients, rather than simply treat disease. This approach will yield optimal results for both the patient and the doctor.

How to be vulnerable with your patient.

As doctors, we need to be more vulnerable, embrace our own emotions and never let our ability to connect with a patient, another human being, go numb.  Vulnerability is a virtue in healthcare. Remember it is a person, not just an eye disease we are treating. Our capacity to be vulnerable will allow us to empathize with out patients.  Empathy builds trust, which is the cornerstone of all successful relationships.

Here are some ways you can be vulnerable with your patient:

  • Shed a tear after giving a difficult diagnosis
  • Hug a patient after a medical triumph
  • Listen to their unspoken concerns
  • Tell them that you get afraid too
  • Remember that we are all in this life together!

Sometimes the most simple things in life are usually the most impactful. It’s great to have our degrees and accolades, but the key to success in life is relationship.  And as it turns out, vulnerability is a very important bridge to the path of trust, connection and relationship.  As far as I know, no app is able to duplicate those virtues.  If you want to become successful and secure your future as a doctor, vulnerability is key.

Without vulnerability, there is no relationship; and without relationship, there is no success.  So why do we talk about vulnerability,  because it is the building block for the most important element of success – relationships!

Here’s a great video from the Cleveland Clinic showing the importance of Vulnerability and Empathy in patient care!

If you enjoy these blogs and they’ve added value to your life, please share them with a colleague or leave a comment below!  Thank you for sharing!

Until next time, remember to keep your heart open to the possibilities of life!

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