It appears our diabetes nurse has found a new motivational technique, at least so far as my last patient of the morning is concerned. He is a little over 60, has obesity, and was diagnosed formally diabetic a couple of years ago. He now attends an endocrine clinic for help both with his weight and his diabetes.
Today he has been sent by the nurse for an overhaul of his treatment. His consultant endocrinologist has also sent us a letter advising he start medication to assist with his weight loss. He tried the same medication a few years ago, without success, but this time he feels he is better motivated to make a go of it. The reason…
Nurse has told him that if he can shift some weight she is more likely to fancy him!
Needless to say, this has got me thinking about the behavioural standards we observe as professionals. I am quite sure that the remark reported above was made in all innocence and in good humour. I also suspect it came at the end of what was probably a challenging consultation where he was again being confronted with a compelling need to loose some weight to improve his health and thereby his chances of longer term survival without complications.
Now, stop to consider how this scenario might have played if the patient were female and it had been a male clinician making the remark. I cannot imagine a situation where this might happen in todays litigious climate. And I find that a rather sad proposition. As many regular readers will know I am a firm believer in allowing humour in to the consulting room whenever possible, and yet I would involuntarily shrink from making such a suggestion, however well I felt I knew my patient. This may speak more to my grammar school educated, male only, formative years, but I suspect not.