Through a Patient’s Eyes: A Clinician’s New Year’s Resolution

The tradition of making a New Year’s resolution has become synonymous with the holiday itself.  New Year’s is a time of reflection, and resolutions are often born out of this reflection. A new year seems to be an anchor in time that encourages us to take account of our lives. The core of our resolutions often reflect our hopes and plans for the future.  Resolutions can help us focus and gain purpose as we navigate the complexities of life.

Resolutions come in many shapes and sizes. Many resolve to eat healthier and work out more. Others promise to save more and spend less. Still others commit to enjoy life to the fullest by developing relationships and growing to be a better person.  Have you made a New Year’s resolution?

Unfortunately we know that most resolutions go unmet. The same complexities of life that make us set resolutions, also contribute to their downfall.  There inasmuch we wait until the next new year to establish something new and the cycle repeats.

As a health care professional I consider it essential to set professional goals as a way of continually providing the best care. My hope for his blog is to share a simple clinician’s resolution that can enhance patient-centered awareness.    The resolution challenges a clinician to see through the eyes of a patient.  This easy, yet powerful, resolution has the potential to enhance your clinical perspective. The song “Pepper” by the Butthole Surfers says it well “you never know just how you look through other people’s eyes”

A Clinician’s New Year’s Resolution

Current evidence suggests there is tremendous value in taking on a patient-centered mindset and approach to improve treatment success. What better way to take on a patient’s point of view than to imagine yourself and your clinic environment from a patient’s perspective.


Step 1: Sit on a chair or treatment table in the place you perform evaluation and treatments. Imagine you are in pain. Notice the room, the lights, the temperature, and the pictures on the wall. Take time to let it soak in. How does it make you feel? What do you like? What might you change?

Step 2: Imagine seeing yourself (as the therapist) sitting behind a computer or chart. Does your imagined presence feel warm and inviting? Do you see your presence as therapeutic and open for engaged listening? Can you see yourself smiling? Do you look too serious? Take time to consider what you see. How does it make you feel? What do you like? What might you change?

This can also be performed at the front desk, gym space, or lobby. I like to do it several times a year in the room where I treat. It is a good reminder to me that patients see things differently than I do. After I complete this exercise, I do not always like what I feel or see. Taking on a patient’s perspective motivates me to change the things I do not like as a means to enhance patient-centered care. I am a better clinician because of it.

Resolving to take on a patient-centered perspective might make 2017 your best clinical year yet.

Happy New Year!


One response to “Through a Patient’s Eyes: A Clinician’s New Year’s Resolution

  1. Jerry says:

    great post…. Sitting in the waiting area of your office returns the biggest ROI.. soooo many touchpoints can be observed!


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