“The science of medicine must be deployed to elucidate the art of medicine; otherwise, medicine falls short, both as science and art.” (Miller & Colloca, 2011)

I set a mission for myself when I began this blog. It has been a long journey, lasting several years. But I’m now coming to the conclusion of the set of ideas that I wanted to share with you, here. Over the next several posts, I’ll review some of the key points I’ve raised and leave with you a few closing thoughts.

In our journey as health care practitioners, doctors and healers, we are challenged with regard to our purpose, not because we did not want to help people, or because we didn’t believe that the science and practices of the day had something to offer, but because we actually met our match — our patient.

Our patients are our teachers. Science informs us that nothing is whole without all of its parts. There is no science without a subject and there is no subject without a culture, paradigm and belief system. We can offer little without understanding the context of the whole; we help only insofar as we resonate with the ideas and ideals of our patients.

Despite our schooling, education and ability to perform varied skill sets — defined as what we do — it is how we do things and why we do them that touches us most. When we come home, we want to share the pleasure it was to help someone, or how openly we shared options with them, or how great and empowered they felt when they left the office.

It is always the human element, the part that has individual meaning that means anything at all. And for the patient, that makes all the difference. The mind and heart are the guides of our greater potential to serve.