I’m an oncologist who got breast cancer. This is what I learned

by Victoria Lavin, The Guardian, 7 June 2018

My experience of being on the other side of the consultation desk will shape my future career and it has helped me to understand what goes on for patients.

The biggest ego-bruising revelation was learning who makes the difference. As the doctor prescribing the treatment I always felt my role was the most crucial. For the patient, however, it’s the healthcare assistantwho smiles when you walk in and gets you seen on time; the volunteer who brings you a cup of tea; the complementary therapist who offers reflexology and a chat during treatment; and the nurse who gets the cannula in at the first attempt.

As I plan my return to work I hope I can appreciate more what patients go through on their journey – and understand what a difference all the dedicated and caring members of the NHS machine make to the patient experience, despite all the pressures they face.

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