Ever since I announced I was going to nursing school, everyone told me that my illnesses would make me a compassionate nurse and a nurse who understands. I have worked in healthcare for a little over a year as a scribe in clinics and hospitals, but have never seen what I am currently experiencing with healthcare. In the past week, there have been multiple instances that have made me think, "no wonder we have such a hard time as patients getting the care we need."
For example, last week we were going over IBD (which I have.) My teacher gave a very broad definition and said that all we need to know about Crohns specifically is that it affects the entire digestive tract, there's no treatment, and that people with Crohn's Disease can live a very sad and painful life. EXCUSE ME?! There is so much more to Crohn's than that. For example, it can affect other systems than just the digestive tract. There are treatments, yes they do not cure it, but they help. There are things you can do to attempt to alleviate symptoms. She very briefly mentioned that Crohns and Colitis patients can experience remission, but made it sound like that is cured/ IBD is gone. However, there was no mention of the different types of remission and how patients can be in ." microbial remission" meaning the patient has no current ulcers but is still experiencing symptoms. She also did not mention how they can slip out of remission at any point.
Now I know what you are thinking, "Kaitlyn, they can't teach every single thing about every single illness." I understand this, however I think that we should be taught a little more than just scratching the surface of these illnesses. Plus, it's not just my illness that I have an issue with in this case. It is all chronic/autoimmune conditions. Like for Lyme Disease, all we need to know is that it's a tick borne illness that can cause a "bullseye" rash. I have watched friends have so many more symptoms and life changing/threatening symptoms caused by Lyme Disease, more than just a rash.
I had another professor go on a tangent about how alternative and holistic medicine is not useful and should be discouraged. If it was not useful, then why are so many people seeking these practices? Why does the rest of the world use mainly these practices? I mean I get it, before I got sick I thought alternative medicine was kind of all in your head, but until western medicine fails you, I don’t think people realize how needed they are. That being said, I don’t think it should be taught in medical profession schools that holistic/alternative medicine is a scam and does not work. There are programs that require you to get a bachelors degree and then go onto get a masters in holistic or alternative medicine. For example, you need a Bachelors of Science in Nursing in order to get a masters and become a nurse in the holistic/integrative medicine practice. As someone who is looking into possibly going into that field, it was discouraging to hear a professor say it's a scam. It was discouraging to see a professor say something I know works be discouraged in order to help a patient. Aren't we supposed to do what is best for the patient? Sometimes western medicine does not have the answer.
This is why doctor's don't believe us. This is why nurses don't believe us. They are not being taught to believe us, they are being taught the generals. I have been fuming about all the illnesses we have learned about. If I was not a part of the chronic illness community, I wouldn't know how bad Lyme can get. I wouldn't know comorbidities of different illnesses. The education medical professionals receive sets them up to not believe us.