One of the most difficult things for those in a health care field, whether a physician, nurse or certified medical assistant, is what kind of relationship to form with patients.
On the one hand, a relationship that is too cold and distant will be off-putting to patients, making them feel like they are not being cared for. On the other hand, a relationship that is too close will become too exhausting for you, as each death will feel like the loss of a friend.
The goal is to find a balance between being caring and becoming so emotionally invested that it is emotionally damaging to oneself. My suggestion is to treat health care with the mindset of a service provider who deals with people on a medium-term basis. When you consider your patients in this manner, it isn’t difficult to be appropriately warm without getting too hurt.
What do I mean by a “medium-term service provider”? I am referring here to cases where we work with another person on a medium-term basis, but without necessarily forming a long term one. For example, if we were taking a job working as an electrician on a construction site, we might take the job for a month or two. After that, however, we would move on to another job, without the expectation of necessarily meeting those people again.
In such cases, we would be polite, but would not allow ourselves to become too emotionally attached. Of course, if a temporary co-worker were to die, we would be upset, but since that person was more of an acquaintance than a friend, we would not be devastated by it. Nothing about this kind of relationship, however, dictates that we would need to be cold or unfriendly, and the same applies to those with medical assistant certification.
by Linsday Schloss