A Patient’s Credo

medical team discussing results
Patient-Centered Care

I am a patient 

and a patient is,

 first and foremost,

 a person.

 The physicians and nurses who take care of me are also persons

 and expect to be treated as such.

 As a patient, I expect to be treated as

 a subject, not an object.

 I am an end in myself,

 not merely a means to serve the ends

 of medical science and practice.

 I will not allow my humanity to be reduced to a location.

 Hence, I am neither a “bed number” nor a “room number.”

 Nor will I permit being referred to in dehumanizing terms.

 Thus, I am neither a “gallbladder” nor a “heart” nor a “kidney.”

 My medical chart and history are about my life, about me;

 but by them alone, you can never know me as a person.

 I am not an illness,

 which is what I have.

 Nor am I a diagnosis,

 which describes my medical condition.

 Rather, I am a person.

  Treat me, then, as a person

 and you will, at the same time,

treat my illness.

 I am impressed by your medical knowledge and skills.

 But I even more impressed by your affirming

 my value as a person.

 I am a patient

and a patient is,

above all,

a person.

7 thoughts on “A Patient’s Credo

  1. I love this Credo! I think that health personnel can sometimes forget that they must treat the patient for there illness, but not forget they are still human beings with feelings! A patient wants to be recognized and made to feel like they are not just known as their diagnosis. The line that stuck out to me the most is, “Treat me then, as a person and you will, at the same time, treat my illness”. When someone is ill they need love and support. Sometimes they just need you to simply hold their hand or sit next to them so they know someone truly cares. The healing process not only takes treatment from the health personnel, but it takes the kind words and actions of them as well.

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    1. What you probably “love” about the credo is the most obvious truth about health care, which is the patient must be treated and respected as a person. While that truth is obvious, yet it may easily be taken for granted to the extent that it is overlooked. How easy it is to pass by a patient without the slightest sense of wonder at his or her humanity! Such an attitude — to borrow the terminology of Martin Buber — reduces a “Thou” to an “It.”

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  2. Dr. Lent,
    After reading “A Patient’s Credo” I believe that all nurses need to read this at some point in their career to remind them that the patients are people too. During a busy day as a nurse, you can start to feel rushed and that is when you as a nurse start to dehumanize the care given to the patient. It is not done purposely but it just happens when rushed. If a nurse could have a moment to read this it may be able to pull them out of the frantic of how busy the day is and allow them to focus on the actual care of the person and not the disease or illness that put them in the hospital.

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  3. “A Patient’s Credo” depicts important information that clarifies the position of the patient in the healthcare system, and I agree with Dr. Lent. The description of how healthcare providers should view and treat their patients as a human beings attest to the sacredness of the human as a whole, and that which is dignified (human person) is inviolable because the human person is “created in the image of God,” (Moses 2:27). Dr. Lent’s calls for a person to be treated with respect is not out of order. It is a proper acknowledgment of value that places every individual. Thus, the healthcare provider readily comes to terms with his or her position as a human being who will like to be treated in a dignified manner as well.

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  4. Dr. Lent

    I absolutely loved reading this Credo! In so many ways it speaks volume and makes a true statement. I feel like i have seen this before in hospitals or even doctor office where the doctor or the nurse seems to forget that the patient is human and not an object or thing. At times they tend to forget that the illness is not them however it is within them. Each patient should be treated as a unique human being and never like a group of symptoms.It is important as a health care professional to make your patients feel like they matter and bud a good and trusting relationship with them. There is nothing worse than a patients feeling like their needs and wants don’t matter or they feel like the physician is not listening to them but rather just prescribing them a medication really quick. I believe it is important to take time to understand a patients needs and address them accordingly with both the patient and their families input. again great Credo, thanks for the opportunity to read it!

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  5. Dr. Lent,
    This Credo emphasizes the importance of treating or patient as humans and not their illnesses. As a medical staff, we see their charts which shares their medical history as well as their family history. However, this does not respect the person as a whole. It is important that the patient feels heard and it treated with kindness and respect. The patient should know that he/she can trust the staff with their life. It is important to take the time to listen to the patient and their loved ones, not only to understand them but to help be an advocate for them. I believe that this Credo should be read by each healthcare staff as a reminder that we should treat one another with the same respect that we expect others to treat us. I truly enjoyed reading this Credo.

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  6. Rev!
    This Credo is spectacular, it is so important that every health care provider remembers that in the business of everything that we remember first and foremost our patients are people! They are not just a thing in a bed that we have to fix, something we have done hundreds of times. We need to humanize health care because it is truly something that can be forgotten along the way, and patients feel like less of person when sick. They do not want to burden us but we need to take the time to treat them with love, kindness, respect, and truly human.

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