The Problem of Being a "Patient"
There is a woman who graduated in the top 10 percent of her high school class and was accepted into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While still in college, she began her journalism career as a state employee in the public relations department of one of the University of North Carolina's 16 public institutions. Her early duties included writing press releases and assisting in annual report development for one of the university's partner institutions, which was charged with improving teachers' skills across the state.
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As a junior in college, the woman joined her university's award-winning newspaper, quickly rising through the ranks from a staff reporter to desk editor. She partnered with other journalism students to facilitate a program in the local middle school, teaching children writing and technology skills to produce a student newspaper. When chosen to serve as the college newspaper's managing editor, the woman elected to stay on an extra summer school semester in order to fulfill her duties.
After graduating, the woman took a job out of state. The job immediately thrust the young reporter into covering a murder trial in which the accused allegedly stabbed his girlfriend in the face and neck 27 times and subsequently blamed the attack on four young black males. The story was only the first in a long line of violent crimes including other murders, bank robberies, and fatal accidents the woman would write about over the course of the year.
The woman took another reporting job that would allow her to move back to her home state. She spent the next four years writing in-depth enterprise and news feature stories for a two county area, as well as managing the newspaper's four-county arts and entertainment section. She was promoted to the position of special sections editor, overseeing all editorial and design work for the company's contracted publications.
When the news company purchased a national magazine, the woman was made associate editor. During her time as associate editor the magazine, the woman went to graduate school, earning her master's degree and teaching at the same time. She was named the magazine's managing editor while still completing her degree and teaching, successfully balancing her responsibilities—in addition to those of being a wife—such that the magazine repeatedly won the title of best niche publication in the state's press association awards, the master's degree was completed on time, and her students overwhelming passed competency exams and developed a greater appreciation for the English language. Today, the bimonthly magazine draws its largest subscriber base from across the Southeast, and in addition to managing the print magazine, the woman also oversees all social media and sponsorships.
In her spare time, the woman began a community service to assist a segment of the population. The service became internationally successful, and in order to provide service to additional people around the world, the woman partnered with well-known organizations in the United States and Europe. These partnerships and the woman's plans to grow her services led her to incorporate as a nonprofit and pursue IRS recognition as a 501c3 to allow donations to her organization to be tax deductible. She enlisted a group of advisors including a woman with an undergraduate degree in social services and graduate degree in human resources who also oversees her company's financial records; a woman with an undergraduate degree in communications and a graduate degree in liberal studies who also has worked as a pharmaceutical representative and is in charge of regional marketing for a large insurance company; a man with an undergraduate degree in business and graduate degree in accounting; and a man with an undergraduate degree in economics, law degree, and more than 25 years as chief legal counsel.
How do you feel about that woman?
Now... pretend that woman is a patient.
Why must the "patient" label strip one of his or her accomplishments as an individual?
Now... pretend that woman, who is a patient, is me.
Patients will be the ones to change the system because patients are—before all else—people.