“I know what it’s like to receive bad patient care. Ignored. Be given poor advice. Left in the dark. Patronized. Judged. Disrespected. Dealt with like I was faking.

From childhood sports injuries to being assaulted while on the frontlines of care, (as experienced by 1 in 4 of my fellow nursing colleagues), being a patient can really suck. But it has made it even more aware of the immense power and influence that comes with being a primary care provider. 

As a family nurse practitioner at Family Practice and Counseling Network, a network of community health centers in Philadelphia, I have joined many of my colleagues in delivering trauma-informed care. This means, in part, to care for your patients as if they may have experienced significant trauma and show them extra compassion and care. Basically, treat patients as you would want to be treated.

Despite what I think I may know, I often do not know the full reasons why a patient is in the condition they are in, or why they do not follow our treatment plan. I may not be aware of the traumas shaping their lives or the situation they find themselves in. Although I can try to walk in my patient’s shoes, I cannot understand what it is like to live their life.

Therefore, I strive to provide compassionate and empathetic care to everyone who comes to see me. Because being ill is not fun, and no one chooses to get sick. So I make my patients feel welcome. Listen to them. Break complicated things down. Ask for questions. And give them the benefit of the doubt. My patients deserve the same high level of service that I expect. And I hope to never render the harmful care that I have gotten when I was in their place.”

– Tarik Khan, MSN, RN, FNP-BC
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing