Alongside advanced healthcare providers, nurses, social workers, and other medical professionals, W. Allen Chandler, Jr. works daily to alleviate the suffering of his patients. He explains, “I have the privilege of assisting patients with navigating the difficult medical decisions which tend to arise around both the acute and chronic phases of serious ongoing illness. I also lend my expertise in symptom management to optimize control over serious illness symptoms that can so negatively impact quality of life.” According to Chandler, providing palliative care in a hospital inpatient setting is all about treating others the way you want to be treated. “I want my patients to experience love in the form of excellent medical care and counsel in an atmosphere of acceptance and possibility,” he says.
“I love providing comfort to people who need it – whether alleviating physical discomfort, or spiritual distress growing out of dealing with a serious illness.”
1. What is one of your happiest professional moments?
My most gratifying moments are when patients express how much better they are feeling after my interventions to treat their noisome symptoms, or after I have helped them sort through a medical decision in a way that preserves their dignity.
2. What is your best advice for patients?
Plan ahead. You never know when a disease or unforeseen event may render you unable to voice your own decisions around your healthcare. Discuss and record your wishes about what you want – and don’t want – in terms of medical interventions around the time of a serious illness.
3. What’s the key to making a great first impression?
Be focused on the stories of others. Be curious. Ask questions. People feel loved and valued when I make the focal topic about them.
4. What would you consider to be your main strengths?
Helping people to feel at ease, heard, and cared for in the midst of very trying, fear-inducing, and often uncertain situations.
5. What influenced you to pursue your career?
I wanted a challenge, and medicine certainly has provided that! I spent the first 15 years of my career providing emergency medical care in a Level I Trauma Center, and the last nine years have been spent in palliative care.
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