Md. Ayşegül Karahan Zor / Cardiologist at Anadolu Medical Center

Just like every other young student who starts his/her studies at the school of medicine, my childhood dream was to become a physician. Helping others, treating diseases, soothing people’s pain and seeing the joy in their eyes when they recover. This was my biggest goal in life. When I became a physician, I understood that while the essence of our profession is to offer psychological and physical healing to our patients in line with the principles of science, the real talent is to do this in a way that respects human dignity, with love and affection, to attentively listen to our patients at their most vulnerable, to try and understand them and to never hurt them while we heal them. That is why it is often said that being a physician is not just about science, but also an art of communication and perhaps even a calling, a way of life that sees one dedicate their entire life to patients and to humanity at large.

The first priority in the healthcare industry, which is the most important field where people serve others, is surely people. I feel quite fortunate in this regard as a physician, because the institution that I’m a part of is one that focuses on this perspective diligently. It is an institution that does its very best to ensure patient satisfaction, their utmost welfare and to make their lives easier. Since our inception in 2005, we have been working at Anadolu Medical Center with the motto “people first”. In 2013 we established our Person Centered Care Department, thereby achieving a first in Turkey. The basis of this understanding of ours takes its roots from the Anadolu Group value of always focusing on human.

I have had thousands of patients at Anadolu Medical Center, where I work as a cardiologist, since 2005. I have always shown empathy towards each and every one of them and treated them with care, as if they’re a member of my own family. As physicians, we also fall ill or someone from our family falls ill. At times like those, we see the other side of the coin, and appreciate the importance of person centered care, and experience at first hand how patients and their families need a smiling face, morale, a reassuring nod that says “things will get better.” Years ago, both my parents became ill due to challenging conditions at around the same time. In this lengthy journey, thanks to the care and support of our physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals, we have overcome difficulties much more easily. Both my parents wanted to receive treatment at Anadolu Medical Center. Because they saw this hospital as their home. First of all, they knew that they would find answers to their questions here. They were able to have discussions with their physicians on why they receive certain treatments, or why they were put on a different treatment, about possible complications or problems they might encounter if they reject a certain treatment or even alternative methods they heard about from their neighbours. They were able to participate in the decisions related to their care and treatment. It is important to involve patients in the decision-making processes. I have first-hand experience that when patients are involved in these processes, adherence to treatment is improved a great deal. Patients learn how to deal with side effects, rather than thinking of just quitting the medication, they also learn when to notify their physician. Even though my mother loses sleep at night due to severe vascular access complications, she finds great comfort in the loving words of nurses who tend to her, telling her that things will eventually be alright. When she is concerned that she would feel cold during an MRI, her heart is warmed by the words of technicians who assure her that she would be kept warm during the procedure. Perhaps none of these are vital details for us physicians but for our patients they make a world of difference. These are the details that make Anadolu Medical Center home for me and my family.

We also have a vast number of patients who come from abroad, with hefty folders in their hands, looking for a solution to their progressing disease and related problems. I know that it is not easy for someone to leave their homeland and go to another country that they do not know well, or speak the language of, especially as a patient. But we have kind-hearted interpreters who think on behalf of our foreign patients, who fix things for them, who arrange their treatment schedules and appointments with their physician, who also care for their financial well-being as much as themselves.

If people are at the center of what you do, especially people who are not well, then every detail counts. I am now in a position to add my personal experience to my professional expertise, and always strive to think like patients and their families, to always exhibit empathy in every step that I take. Person Centered Care is a basic concept that all healthcare institutions should embody. We physicians, as forerunners of the healthcare industry, dedicate enough time to our patients, listen to them, show empathy, answer all sorts of questions, alleviate their anxieties and concerns when we render our services. It’s not just us, but also our nurses and the entire team of healthcare professionals who maintain this collective understanding. That is why our chain of Person Centered Care is never broken. Thanks to our efforts, we became the first Planetree Gold Certified hospital in Turkey and in this part of the world, which testifies to our commitment to Person Centered Care, which is now at the top of the agenda of the healthcare industry all around the world.

Within this scope, we also implement special programmes where employees nominate each other and where we reward good practices and behaviour. We regularly reward good practices under different heading such as Those Who Add Value and Person Centered Care Awards (also known as Compassion Awards). Whatever makes us human beings, we experience collectively with our patients: joy, sorrow, excitement, fear, anxiety, happiness… Because we are together on this path. The relations we maintain with patients who recover, even the friendships that we forge, are the greatest testament to this.

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