Bees with patients/ clients: do you talk politics?

posted 5 months ago in Career
Post # 47
Hostess
3773 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

kittemae1990 :  I’m an attorney and I rarely discuss my political beliefs with my clients.  Mainly because I believe it’s inappropriate, but also because I’m in a conservative field and am not a conservative, so I know that my views would generally not be shared by most of my coworkers/clients.  I have had a doctor express his political views to me, and honestly, have been thinking about switching practices because I feel awkward when he brings these things up (he is a big Trump supporter). 

I am personally very interested in politics and not shy about discussing/debating my views and different perspectives, but I don’t think that it’s appropriate or comfortable for the patient to have to listen to the practitioner’s political views.  I’m sure there are situations where it would be appropriate, but the context you described is not one of them. 

Post # 48
Member
180 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

Hi Bee, 

I’m a social worker, working mainly with at-risk young adults helping them re-enter the workforce.

Now, I’m located in Canada, not the USA, so things are a little less…stressful…here.

With that being said, when clients bring up politics I just kind go “hmm…” “right..” “uh huh..” and switch the subject.

Now, if a client is making a statement that is blatantly racist, homophobic, etc. I will call them on it as this will likely get them fired in a lot of workplaces and it is an important part of my job to make sure they know what is work appropriate and what isn’t.

I actually give a whole workshop on what is work apprporiate conversation with them and a big part of it is not to talk politics and not to make assumptions about people’s politics. Aka- just because someone has dreads and smokes pot doesn’t mean they also think trump is an idiot and just because someone goes to church doesn’t mean they are anti-abortion, etc. I find my clients tend to get into trouble when they assume other people’s politics are the same as theirs, and therefore it is a safe topic of conversation, it’s not!

I find it incredibly weird that she would say something like that to a client, it is incredibly unprofessional, and just not okay.

Post # 49
Member
1454 posts
Bumble bee

lifeisbeeutiful :  fwiw, I get what you are saying. This thread, not to my surprise given how the Bee leans and the comment quoted in question, strikes me as setting the tone that it is ok (or even mandatory) that OP “report” this comment as “inappropriate” even though context is clearly lacking and the parties’ privacy is at issue.

 

Post # 51
Member
1454 posts
Bumble bee

kittemae1990 :  i didnt say you were (and I don’t think you intended for the thread to take that tone in general). I’m just saying that i understood what the previous bee was getting at. As I noted and based on the other replies here where there is clear disdain for the assumed political leaning for the speaker in question. I have to wonder if these same bees would feel the same if a very “left” leaning comment were said in a similar scenario. Would you have brought it up here had this been the case?

Post # 53
Member
1454 posts
Bumble bee

kittemae1990 :  glad to hear you are aware of the damage such an attitude can cause for either scenario. We need more people like you who can approach a situation and people from a (for a lack of a better word) objective standpoint in a professional setting.

Post # 55
Member
10651 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

Since so much of health care is tied to politics, I think those in the health care field are doing a major disservice to patients if it’s not discussed, but there are appropriate and inappropriate contexts.  Bringing up patients being representatives on a board – relevant.  Political issues within the health care system that are affecting care – relevant.  Most international policy – typically not relevant.

Post # 56
Member
1454 posts
Bumble bee

AB Bride :  I’m not following your point. How would a doctor discussing politics with his or her patient during an appointment be relevant to the care at such time? Many people have a hard time building trust with their care providers as it is, so to add on a nefarious topic like politics is quite the opposite of what a doctor, as a person in a position of power over a patient, should engage in during care. 

It goes without saying that patients already do not get enough time with their care providers due to demand, so I can’t rationalize having a provider spend time to tell me their political opinions in a session where I’m already not getting the bedside service I should be. 

Post # 57
Member
622 posts
Busy bee

chocolateplease :  Depending on what type of care they receive it could definitely be relevant. Subsidized counselling post-abortion through Planned Parenthood is a perfect example. If a patient was talking about voting Republican to their counsellor, it would not be inappropriate for the counsellor to provide a fact based response on Republican Party views on (and plans for) Planned Parenthood. 

However the comment that the OP referenced in her first post was neither fact based or appropriate. It’s all about delivery. 

Post # 58
Member
168 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2029

kittemae1990 :  I never talk politics at work period. Would the statement have made you uncomfortable had it been aligned w/your own beliefs?  Not agreeing or disagreeing w/the clinician, just wondering.  If your method w/your patients works, then don’t overthink.  I have a customer service based job and I talk to customers depending on whether they want to or not.  

Post # 59
Member
9002 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

overthemoon2018 :  Urhhh people keep bringing this up as a way to justify/minimise what OP’s colleague said.

As someone who works/volunteers in a clinical setting this would make me uncomfortable period. As I said in my earlier post this is not about politics itself, it is about a person in a trust postion with power saying something like this. It is unprofessional and can be extremely damaging to clients. 

Post # 60
Member
168 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2029

Just do what you think is right.

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