ACR 2022 Recap Series: Opening Session + Keynote: Physician, Patients and the Nature of Heroism in Medicine

In November, RNS Board member Teri Puhalsky, BSN, RN, CRNI, attended the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Convergence 2022. Throughout our ACR 2022 recap series, Teri provides her perspective and insights into the sessions she attended. The ACR’s opener included presentations by Dr. Kenneth Saag and Dr. Abraham Verghese on the importance of rebuilding trust with our patients.

Session Recap: Opening Session + Keynote: Physician, Patients and the Nature of Heroism in Medicine
Faculty: Kenneth Saag, MD, MSc / Abraham Verghese, MD

Kenneth Saag, MD, MSc opened the 2022 ACR Convergence with an impactful and challenging discussion on building trust with our patients, emphasizing the great lack of it within the community. Referring to the dictionary’s definition of trust as “a faithful reliance on the character and ability of something”, Dr. Saag highlighted our need as rheumatology professionals to rebuild and strengthen patients’ confidence in us.

Dr. Saag discussed how the ACR considers the workforce shortage in determining the steps to appropriately address it, and shared thoughts on how to enhance the trust of patients by talking to them about important matters, generating the very best evidence, and practicing evidence-based medicine. Concluding with the great need to advance evidence-based medicine and increase social justice, Dr. Saag urged, “The ACR can not and should not shy away from geopolitical controversy.”

Following Dr. In Saag’s presentation he introduced Abraham Verghese, MD to deliver his keynote address, “Patients, Physicians, Patients and the Nature of Heroism in Medicine.” Overviewing his career and his arrival to the U.S.,  Dr. Verghese addressed the enormity of mistrust patients have in the medical profession due to COVID. Dr. Verghese pressed that it is up to us as the healthcare providers to restore patient’s trust within rheumatology healthcare.

In closing, Dr. Verghese reminded attendees how rheumatology professionals are the last resort of specialties for patients, and even still many never arrive to our care.

Teri Puhalsky, BSN, RN, CRNI
Membership Development Chair Registered Nurse
Medstar Orthopaedic Institute
Brandywine, MD

Teri Puhalsky currently resides in Maryland, where she works as an infusion RN at Medstar Orthopaedic Institute. She studied nursing at Excelsior College School of Nursing and has been practicing rheumatology since 2011. Teri received the Outstanding Clinical Performance Award as an LPN, obtained her CRNI in 2012, and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International PhiPi Chapter. She strives for positive patient outcomes and firmly believes that collaboration with the healthcare team is critical for chronic disease management. With a patient-focused and evidence-based nursing practice, she knows all patients can receive quality, safe, and effective care.