Psychiatrist, Advocate for Patient Care
Chapter 5: Lessons Learned
During the time I served in the Navy, I learned many new lessons. Most rewarding, probably, was seeing sailors deal with addiction and watching them turn their lives around. I also had the immense pleasure of helping spouses and family members deal with the demands placed on the sailors. I gained a great appreciation and respect for U.S. military personnel and their families as I helped them deal with the stresses common to military service.
I saw the extraordinary trust that military men placed in their leaders. Because of this, we knew we could trust the survey data. Trust, I saw, was the critical factor. This taught me the implications of doing person-centered psychiatric care as I moved on with my career and
holding tightly to a trusted professional relationship between a physician and a patient.
The survey [described in Chapter 4] and its results reinforced my own interest in problem-solving in a specific situation. I saw how a skilled professional could establish a procedure to turn a problem into an asset. I learned how important it is to engage decision-makers directly.
One of the most powerful lessons I learned was the value of not discarding an individual if that person demonstrates he or she wants to invest in bettering themselves. This opened to me the potential I could enjoy by becoming available to help people without prejudging them.
Lee Beecher, MD