Trusting your Patient as an Endocrinologist for Diabetes Management Motivation

Amylia Grace Yeaman Health Guide
  • Nordstrom's is known for their exemplary customer service and successful business model. For years, Nordstrom's Employee Handbook was a single 5×8" gray card containing these 75 words:


    Welcome to Nordstrom

    We're glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.


    Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules. Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

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    The Result?


    During this time, Nordstrom had the highest sales per square foot performance in the retail industry - by almost double. This is no coincidence. There's a reason sales performance went up--and I'd argue that it has to do with motivation.


    After all, diabetics, like all humans, tend to be more likely to motivate and work hard when direction comes from a source they know has faith in them and is anticipating their success! We are motivated to do better when an authority (parent, teacher, doctor, boss) thinks we can--and isn't shy about telling us so. 


    Results generally improve when those "in charge" give us credit and trust us enough to not micromanage or condescend with strict, detailed guidelines and policies put in place for the least among us (the 'few bad apples' spoil the whole bunch' mentality).


    The Hypothesis:


    If Endocrinologists, doctors, N.P.'s and other people "of authority" made patients and folks they work with genuinely feel more empowered, we'd all see a lot better results. The framework we operate under (key word "under") right now is rather uninspired. 


    It's the old "I am the authority. I dole out the information. You soak it up and fall in line--but only after I tell you what to do" mentality. As a teacher (in a "position of authority") and as a patient, I resent this model because it sends the wrong message. 


    Trouble is, while it may keep authorities (and us) in a comfort zone and require less "worry" ("Hey, I told 'em what to do! If they don't fall in line, that's on them, not me!"), it gives no credit to students or patients or employees. It tells them their judgment is suspect. They can't be trusted. 


    Plus, anyone (like me) who doesn't always respond well to "being told" what to do is going to rebel at one point or another under the current framework. What's wrong with providing choices (no matter how few), striking a compromise or suggestion?


    It's part of why there are so many "non-compliant" folks out there--with or without diabetes. We see this time and time again in the medical field, in business, families, in schools, all around us. 


    Food for Thought (no carbs added)


    When patients feel trusted and included, they feel cared for-- and the results follow. 


    While patients go to doctors for tests and information beyond their area of expertise, they are the experts on daily life with their own diabetes/chronic condition. 


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    When you're managing diabetes every moment of your life, you deserve some credit. Doctors are not by our side for that. We depend on ourselves and our best (educated) judgment.


    Bottom Line: 


    No one's perfect. But when we give patients or employees or students or kids AND our ourselves trust and credit and faith, we increase the likelihood of them coming through for us tenfold. 


    Patients need to be more empowered and encouraged by their doctors., and doctors should, at the very least, be taught how to effectively employ some basics of human motivation. 


    Your Turn:  Which approaches have you seen work best for patients--and for you--when implemented by doctors, nurses, CDE's, specialists?  Do you like your docs hard-hitting and unequivocally "the authority" on (your) diabetes? Or have you ever felt like your docs were too laid back and accepting? 

Published On: February 24, 2011