Valerie Gribben, MD, FAAP, a pediatric attending physician at University of California, San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital, was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) at the University of Alabama School of Medicine. She recently won first prize in the Medical Economics Physician Writing Contest for her essay “The one question to get to the heart of a patient’s true concern.”
Her eloquent essay offers a practical, essential tip to help physicians connect more quickly and deeply with patients.
The essay “grew from the resonant themes I learned (and am still learning) through GHHS,” Dr. Gribben wrote to the Gold Foundation. “Even long after medical school, the tenets of GHHS help make each day of medical practice a meaningful one.”
Dr. Gribben’s award-winning essay begins:
I was stumped. Of course, that happens almost daily during intern year. The patient was a grinning three-year-old boy who was tearing around the urgent care exam room, yet his mother kept her lips pursed and wouldn’t look me in the eyes. I had already given her careful reassurance about her child simply having a cold and recommended supportive care with chicken soup and plenty of fluids, but her body language radiated dissatisfaction.
I ducked outside and presented the case to my attending, an experienced pediatrician. At the conclusion of my story I found myself admitting, “I feel like I’m missing something.”
Read her entire essay at Medical Economics.