I am many things: an educator, a paper pusher, an underpaid community health worker. Do you know what I am not? A “healer.” To be honest, I don’t like it when members of traditional Western medical pracice dub themselves healers. I like to think of myself as a straight talker. I don’t like to sugarcoat my life with cutesy language (another example of what I am not? A “dog mommy”) I understand why people in the health care professions might want to proclaim themselves healers. It sounds much more holistic and touchy-feely than, “I’m a nurse who spends my days saying the same thing over and over again to people who may not remember anything.” Or, “I’m a NP who dispenses blood pressure medicines and pain pills in hopes of prolonging people’s lives for a few more sickly years.” Yeah, ‘healing’ sounds a lot better than ‘trying to empty the ocean with a spoon.’ But I’m not sure how much healing I really do in the course of a day. Sure, there are a few things here and there that I can actually cure–for example, I do a great job of healing chlamydia. But most of what I do doesn’t result in healing per se. I do a lot of listening, which arguably can result in a slow kind of healing. And I do a lot of teaching, which possibly could lead to healing if people take my advice to heart. But a “healer”? I’m not so sure.
Cheesy language, heal thyself! July 21, 2008