Jeroen van Dillen: three dilemmas of participation

On stage: the inside of a patient’s room: a bed and behind it a wall with postcards: much luck, get well soon. Nothing spectacular; the regular stuff in hospitals. Nothing comfortable; unfortunately also the regular business in hospitals. Despite I, as a patient lying in that same bed, am nervous for the outcome, the diagnosis. And not in a comfortable way! How will my life go further?

What has been found? How can I influence it? I am afraid to go home. So I drink my coffee, I read my paper. But in the meantime it is not as easy as it looks. However, there is also the other side of the medal: from the doctors point of view.

That’s what this TedTalk is about!

As a introduction one of the patients of Jeroen van Dillen -Froukje de Vries- left him because of a lack of communication. She rocks the boat.

They show the audience the dillema’s of working as a young doctor in the most innovative university hospital in the Netherlands, who is so willing to deal with ‘compassion for care’. A doctor wants so eagerly to be a guide, a coach for his patients.

In doing so he is confronted on a daily basis with three dillema’s of participatory health care from the doctors perspective:

1. Time
2. Emotion
3. Clinical practice


#1 Time:

Of course doctors see the benefit of ‘the continuity of care’. He understands that the patient wants the doctor to be available, anytime. That this makes the patient comfortable. However; doctors can not be available all the time.

#2 Emotion:

The doctor also has emotion and he wants to be empathic. However he can not be empathical all the time; he needs a ‘white coat to protect himself’ and to do the other side of his job. That is about balancing.

#3 Clinical practice:

The doctor wants to be the guide, to find the optimal solution together with the patient. However; who pays, who decides?

Doctors also know fear: they are fearing about prosecutions, for example. He askes himself over and over again How do I react? Where I draw the line?

Van Dillen calls for facing these dilemmas. Talk about it. Doctors also have to be empowered to become the individual, empathic doctor. This needs attention in the education of healthcare professionals We do not have the answers. But we can share our dilemmas and talk about it.

In open and respectful way! Toward patient and doctor empowerment!!

Jeroen en Froukje

A blog by Eveliene Manten-Horst