Six Factors for Safe Practice
Trust is a precious and fragile commodity that is hard to win yet easy to lose. And, as Abraham Lincoln put it, "If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem." Once you have earned your patients' trust, do not violate it.
You have a fiduciary with your patients, and that means that you have agreed to set aside your own interests in order to do what is best for them. You must put their comfort and welfare ahead of your wants and needs. Your personal agenda must be left on the other side of the closed door. This is the obligation of all health-care providers.
Touch is a method of communication, capable of transmitting messages both conscious and unconscious, that is made no less powerful by Western society's tendency to overlook it. Touch is a necessary part of many doctor/patient interactions, but it should never be used carelessly.
Know yourself in to touch. How do you feel about touch? How do you prepare yourself and your patients for touching? How is touching patients different from touching friends, lovers, or children?
Get feedback on your touch. How do people respond to the different kinds of touch you use? How do people describe your touch? What are its qualities? Is it comforting?. Gentle? Healing? Strong? Rough? When you ask about how others perceive your touch, you may discover a need to practice certain touching skills or to make changes in the way you use touch in your practice.
Be aware of your patients' response to touch and near-touch. Though touch