Health Literacy Sample Reflective Essay
Knowing What Questions to Ask, and When
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be surroundedbya lot of people withmedical experience. Being Filipino, it is very common to pursue a career in nursing since in Filipino culture; nurses are looked high upon on. I have cousins, and aunts who are nurses, as well as my Dad. If you got hurt or you feel sick, you can always count on one of your family members to help identify what’s wrong with you. Although this was not the path for me, I still some how found myself working towards the medical field.
My dad -who is an immigrant from the Philippines- has a lot of knowledge about the medical field. He grew up in the province of San Jose, where opportunity was scarce; he still had high hopes in becoming a doctor. He received his Medical Degree from Far Eastern University, passed all of his board exams, but could not get into residency program in the States, and was not able to become a doctor. Although this was a big down-set in his life, he still pursued a career in the medical field and is now a LVN. Health Literacy Sample Reflective Essay
Now for me, I am very familiar with medical terms and what goes on in medicine. I have taken a lot of science classes in my college career(Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Organic Chemistry) that helped me better my understanding how important medicine is. One class in particular was my Microbiology class. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about microbes and bacteria and the benefits that bacteria has for you. One thing that my professor taught me that stuck was about vaccines.
One medical factor that I’ve learned through out the years and think it is important for everyone to understand are vaccines. Vaccines play a big role in preventing the spread of diseases to help keep everyone safe and healthy. It is vital for vaccines to be distributed to people when they are young, in order to prevent the spread of disease and to be updated with their vaccines and to be able to know the benefits of it. I keep up to date with my vaccines and get a flu shot every year.
My boyfriend on the other hand, did not grow up with anexcessive medical background.He is health literate in that aspect, where growing up he did not know the importance of getting vaccines. He doesn’t get his annual flu shot and never had his HPV shot -which gave him a bit of a scare when having to encounter the doctors. Health Literacy Sample Reflective Essay
Back in March, he caught a cold; the usual sore throat, with a fever and stuffy nose. He is a very healthy guy and takes good care of himself (a huge germaphobe, works out and eats right), so he rarely gets sick. It has been a couple of days with his cold, and he noticed that there was a sore on the roof of his mouth. I examined his mouth with my iPhone flashlight and saw a little tiny bump. I didn’t know what it was; so I assumed that cold sore or canker sorethat was up there. His symptoms were not getting better, so then I suggested that he go to the doctors. He agreed and made an appointment for the next available slot.
For a guy who doesn’tregularlygo to the doctors this might be frightening and nerve wrecking. He goes into the waiting room, greeted by the receptionist and pays his $20 co-pay, and fills out forms disclosing his personal health information. As most doctors’ appointments go, they are always behind schedule and you never see them at your scheduled time. Growing impatient he didn’t get into an examination room until 1 hour after he set appointment.
After waiting so long, for a simple check up, no one wants to hear bad new from a doctor. From his view, his doctor was an elderly man, and didn’t seem too eager in helping him out. He was late to the appointment; the office was about to close, and he clearly in no mood to give him the needed information. After waiting for 1 hour, the doctor takes 15 minutes to examine his mouth, and flat out tells him that he has mouth cancer, a papilloma to be exact. Just like that he diagnosed his patient with mouth cancer and refers him to a specialist- with no additional information to explain what it was, or why or how he got it. Health Literacy Sample Reflective Essay
Right after his appointment, I get a call from him, and I could hear the sadness in his voice. At first I thought it was a joke, and didn’t want to here what he was saying. Suddenly my heart dropped and realized that it wasn’t a joke I thought to my self are you serious? I rushed by his side.
Meeting up with him, still in his car in the parking lot of the doctor’s office, I can see how distraught he was. I tried to calm him down, and asked him to tell him what happened in that doctor’s office step by step. After hearing his story and experience, I couldn’t believe what happened.
The first thing that upset me was the doctors’ unwillingness to provide the correct information. Doctors should not be allowed to diagnose their patients like that; without running tests to make sure it is what they say it is, and scaring their patients. I tried to assure him that it was nothing yet; that he should think of the worst case scenario and he should seek a specialist to confirm what it was.
After trying to get him to be calm and see the bigger picture, he set an appointment a week later with a throat specialist, an otolaryngologist. The week prior, waiting for the appointment just left him anxious with no idea what is going to happen to him. In his mindset, he had the idea that he was sick, and that he was going to die early all because of what that doctor said and looking up stuff on webMD.
The week finally came to see the specialist, it was a Thursday morning and I accompanied him to give him support. I was not scared because I knew deep down that it wasn’t anything that was life threatening. He just needed reassurance from this specialist.
The vibe at this doctor’s appointment was a 360 turn from his first encounter. He was a younger doctor so he was much more relatable to him. He made him feel comfortable and gave his undivided attention to him. My boyfriend then explained his situation how his primary care doctor told him that he had cancer of the mouth. The doctor then took a look inside his mouth with his medical, head flashlight, and said that was a wart. He said it was a wart that was transmitted by the human papilloma virus, (HPV) and that they are usually benign. He said that oral cancer is very rare, and that we should not worry. He answered all of our questions; explained how it spreads, how people get it, how it can be prevented, and how common it is. Health Literacy Sample Reflective Essay
On that same day, he extracted the papilloma; gave him a shot of anesthesiain his mouth, sliced it right off, and sent it to the lab to get further testing to see if it has any cancerous properties. During his examination, he also noticed that his sinuses were clogged and went an extra step further and gave him allergy medication to clear out his sinuses.
The difference within the two doctors that he hadencountered was that the specialist knew how to addressed certain things to his patients. He was attentive and very responsive with all of the questions we had regarding his issue. The specialist didn’t give any reason for him to feel uncomfortable but gave him the confidence to understand what was going on. The primary care doctor on the other did not do a good job with communicating this his patient. Doctors should know how to explain medical terms to people who are not literate in that sense and let them leave the office with fully understanding what is going on.
Health literacy is important for everyone to know and understand, especially doctors. A doctor should not diagnose patients without running extra test. They should know how to communicate with patients and explain terms where they could understand and not letting patients think otherwise. Health Literacy Sample Reflective Essay