Leading by example
- By: Daniel M Henderson
“You understand that you probably shouldn’t drink as much as you do at the moment Mr Smith. The maximum amount is 21 units a week.” On a recent placement I was faced with this situation—one many medical students may have encountered. Possibly not the finest example of motivational speaking, however, I was going to follow with the usual blurb about liver damage and units and blah blah blah. No wonder patients don’t act on this advice; they probably barely listen to it all anyway.
Fortunately for Mr Smith, he didn’t have to sit through my monologue of scary facts about varices, cirrhosis, and skin yellowing. “That’s a bit rich coming from you,” he said. “It’s the same old stuff from doctors. Stop drinking. Stop smoking. Eat healthily. Do more exercise.” This wasn’t going as planned. “Everyone knows you medical students drink more than everyone else at university.” I managed to