To be honest.
Nothing can shatter a relationship more quickly and more completely than dishonesty. To be sure, we do not hit people over the head with the truth they are not prepared to hear. That would be cruel. We must rigorously avoid a self-serving deflection of crucial issues and truths in order to “spare” patients and ourselves the pain of honesty. Honesty–tenderly and lovingly kneaded with kindness–will be remembered with appreciation long after the sting of the truth passes.
To be gentle and kind.
There is no doubt that the first casualty to managed care has been time. There is no doubt that our professional lives have become so pressured, so hectic as to reduce us, at times, to machine-like activity, constantly whirring and clicking toward the next task. However, there is no excuse for relegating vulnerable patients to merciless efficiency and then to naively believe that in the process they have been treated.
from Dr. Walter Hunter’s 12 Imperatives for Working with the Dying