Becoming A Healer

As most of you know by now, I love words. I am fascinated by words. One of my favorite learnings in undergraduate school was the Whorfian Hypothesis. The notion that the language we use can affect our view of the world. The famous example often offered is the fact that Eskimos have several different words for “snow,” reflecting subtleties in the way they see different versions of solid precipitation. In English, we just say “snow.” The Whorfian Hypothesis argues that because Eskimos have more words for snow, they perceive their snowy world in greater detail than we would.

Against that fascinating (?) introduction, check this out. It’s a blog posted by a young physician, pictured above, who also happens to be an author. She likes words too. And suggests that each physician focus in on becoming a “healer.” That got me to stop and think. When was the last time I had encountered that word? And what does it mean, anyway? Dr. Fraser couldn’t help me with the answer to the first question. And I am not so good at answering that one either. Best I can figure, I haven’t heard the term “healer” in a long, long time. I am wondering why. 

But she does a great job of answering the second question. In brief, she posits, a healer is someone who exhibits compassion while administering treatment. BUT. Showing compassion, she explains, requires time. In an era where fee-for-service, insurance payments, etc. demand rapid patient throughput, what practitioner has time for compassion? Pity!  

Bottom LineSarah believes that if a physician becomes a “healer,” the extra effort that she gives to caring for the patient gives new meaning to the phrase, “Time heals all wounds.” I think she is right!

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