17: Advice to Medical Providers

If you’ve watched this video it means you’re concerned about the quality of your interactions with your patients, and want to know more about how to do right by the alopecians you treat.  Well done and thank you!  Here are some simple tips to consider when working with alopecians.  I guarantee they’ll help make you look good:


  1. Validate their feelings. Even if it’s the end of the day, or you just had someone throw up all over you, or you’re running out the door to your next appointment, it’s important to give your patients time and attention.  In doing so you respect the stories of grief, fear and loss they come to you with, and you establish that you’re trustworthy and down-to-earth.


  1. Be proactive. Especially because not much is known about what causes alopecia, leaving alopecians to feel isolated and frustrated, it’s so important to show that you’re concerned, and that you’ll use the resources at your disposal to do right by your patient.  It helps us feel like our time spent with you is worthwhile.


  1. Be a resource. Even if you think your patients may not be ready to hear that they might need to think about support groups, or wearing a wig, or drawing their eyebrows on everyday, I think it’s the responsibility of medical providers to lend a hand when it comes to raising awareness about the disease and who in the community can help patients take care of their physical and emotional selves.  I know that much of my experience could have been drastically different if I’d had informed supports to carry me through the most difficult stages of my disease experience.


  1. Be hopeful. The mind is so powerful, and yet so fragile when it’s under stress.  When you have the choice to either be an example of positivity or one of doom, choose positivity.  Your alopecians are looking for it in every discussion they have with doctors.  Whether what you have to offer comes in the form of looking at the positive aspects of their lives, of themselves, or of the treatments you have yet to try, all of it is helpful in creating useful pathways in our thought processes.


  1. Most importantly, be kind and careful with your words. You may not remember us twenty minutes or twenty days after we see you, but we’ll remember you.  Those brief minutes you spend with us in your office are like gold.  Our egos can be fragile or already damaged by alopecia.  It’s the wise practitioner who already knows all this, and who helps to heal in what he or she says, and what isn’t said.


To watch the video associated with this blog, click here.


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