Everything Nice: the Importance of Good Feelings in Healthcare

By Connie Hernandez, ND

In recent weeks we’ve written about sugar and spice. Now how’s about something nice?

What’s nice in medicine and healthcare?

Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND
Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND

“Nice” generally implies something pleasant, agreeable, good, satisfying, comforting, etc.

We recently accompanied a cancer-patient friend on her visits to the infusion center and oncologist. During our time with her, we realized that there are offices within the broader auspices of conventional medicine that are actually and truly “nice.”

In these special places, our friend was greeted warmly with sincere eye contact, addressed by name, and offered handholding and hugs. The clinicians remembered who she was and the details of her life. They were prepared for her visit, proactive, and worked together as a team. They talked with her warmly about procedures and treatment, and any changes needing to be made.

We had a feeling that she was being humanely cared for, not as a patient but a real, live person.

Now, that is nice!

Nice was the quality of my recent experience at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s outpatient surgery center. Before the surgery, the staff offered me a whiff of lavender oil to help me relax. Afterward, they offered me peppermint oil to help me get re-energized. They invited me to select the music I would enjoy while I waited my turn. Nice was being prayed for by the surgeon before the surgery. (Now that is nice!)

nicebigDr. Marcel and I were drawn to naturopathic medicine in part because there are so many ways in which it’s nice.

The roots of naturopathy are firmly embedded in “nature cure.” Thus, what could be nicer than walking barefoot in dewy grass at dawn to stimulate the acupressure points in the soles of the feet, while aligning ourselves with Earth’s magnetic field?…

What could be more nice than:

Bathing in the sun’s healing rays.

Strolling down a forest path to absorb the energy of the trees and the negative ions in the fresh air.

Gathering herbs from a home garden for use in medicinal teas.

These are but a handful of the countless non-harmful yet extremely powerful tools of naturopathic healing.

In our practice and office environment we strive to offer our patients a nice experience.

Nice sees the patient as a real person trying to harmonize their being within a complex matrix of physical, mental, emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual factors.

Nice means connecting with the patient as a real person, eye to eye and heart to heart.

Nice means taking time to sit with them and truly communicate. Nice means serving as a teacher and friend.

butterfly-492536_640In our office setting, nice is the waterfall on a lavender wall, the shoji screens, the expansive art, the orchids that often grace our desks, the welcoming homelike feeling of the reception area.

Nice is the camaraderie that our cancer patients share while receiving IV infusions.

Nice is the countless acts of kindness between patients, clinicians, and staff. Nice is smiles and laughter.

As naturopathic physicians, we’re blessed to be able to offer our patients these nice experiences. We welcome your suggestions for how we can improve our practice.

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Read more about the medical services Dr. Connie offers here: http://www.naturopathichealthconsultations.com