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Advice for Improving Patient-Doctor Communication

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Published on December 17, 2018

At a recent town meeting in Atlanta, Patient Power host and advocate Jeff Folloder is joined by Mona Shums, a nurse practitioner from the Winship Cancer Institute, to discuss how chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients can optimize communication with their healthcare team. Mona describes the patient’s role in cancer care and what to bring up during appointments. Watch now to learn more.

This town meeting was produced in partnership with Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and sponsored by AbbVie, Inc., Pharmacyclics, LLC and TG Therapeutics. 

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Winship Cancer Institute

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Transcript | Advice for Improving Patient-Doctor Communication

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Jeff Folloder:

As a PA you’re on the front line of interacting with the patients more often than any other part of the healthcare team. What is my role as a patient? What is my duty in communicating with you? What do I need to be telling you as part of my disease progression? 

Mona Shums:              

So, very similar to what Dr. Cohen was saying is we want you guys to be involved in your patient care. I think sometimes people feel like they can’t ask questions, or they feel uncomfortable asking questions that they might be questioning you or it might come across disrespectful, and this also goes to caregivers. We want everybody, this is a group effort, we want everybody to be involved, even if you’ve asked the question 10 times, we still want you to ask them if you’re not comfortable with the answer. You’re very much a part of this treatment process, and so if you don’t have an understanding of what’s going on or why it’s going on, or what we’re doing what we’re doing, we want you to ask because that’s really important in getting better, part of the process.

Jeff Folloder:               

So, what symptoms do you wanna know about? I mean we talked about the icky night sweats.

Mona Shums:              

So, actually when we bring patients into the hospital one of the things that we tell them, whether they’re coming in because they’re sick and there’s an infection, or they’re coming in for chemotherapy, or radiation, or anything really we tell patients tell us what’s going on every day even if you think it’s something small, if it’s something minor it could actually be indicative of something bigger going on. And so, even if you think it’s I don’t need to tell you about this, it happened over night, it’s not a big deal. It can be. So, we always prefer more information than not, because the more information we have that’s how we can help you. 

Jeff Folloder:               

Excellent!

Mona Shums:              

There’s really no—I mean it can be any number of things. Just communication.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.