Written with contributing author Linda Robinson, MSN, CPXP, RN, Vice President of Clinical Excellence, MDM Healthcare
Recently, MDM Healthcare VP of Clinical Excellence, Linda Robinson, MSN, RN, CPXP, conducted an exclusive interview with renowned Medical Oncologist and Hematologist, Philip D. Leming, MD. With a remarkable career that includes co-founding the medical oncology department at The Christ Hospital and leading the Christ Hospital Cancer Research Program, Dr. Leming currently serves as the Medical Director of Cincinnati Cancer Advisors, an organization that provides comprehensive and compassionate care to individuals and families affected by cancer. In its quest to enhance cancer care and treatment in the region, Cincinnati Cancer Advisors extends a free second opinion cancer service to members of the Greater Cincinnati community. Additionally, CCA offers consultative oncology services and financial assistance through a partnership with the Patient Advocate Foundation.
In their conversation, Dr. Leming emphasized his philosophy of approaching cancer treatment with a curative mindset.
“Even the worst of all cancers are curable until proven otherwise,” he said.
He also stressed the significance of treating patients with dignity, highlighting the importance of compassionate care and actively listening to patients.
“Oftentimes it’s the simple things that make a difference in patient care such as practicing with compassion or just listening to patients,” he said.
Dr. Leming also shared his practice of getting to know patients beyond their illness, recognizing their individuality and reminding them of the importance of their lives.
“Something that transcends both human and neuroscience is that when someone comes in no matter how old, ill or debilitated, you want to connect with the patient as a human being and give them a reminder of the individual importance of their life,” he said. “It’s important to be able to communicate with patients and get to know them and by doing that you actually get more valuable information to help treat them.”
Drawing on his experience, Dr. Leming highlighted the art of bedside care, emphasizing the value of simplicity in communication and providing patients with a clear understanding of their condition.
“You learn who the person is by listening to them, gauging their anxiety, talking with their family, and trying to put the illness you are being asked to review in perspective,” he said. “The basic part is trying to make things simple for people, care providers should be able to explain most illnesses in an uncomplicated way.”
He advocated for a servant leadership mindset in healthcare, emphasizing the role of healthcare providers in reducing suffering and instilling hope.
“You are there to help, to serve, try to reduce suffering and provide hope. Ideally all the leadership in healthcare should have this mindset,” he said.
Additionally, Dr. Leming discussed the parallels he sees between medicine, music, and martial arts, emphasizing the importance of mastering the fundamentals and approaching each discipline with precision and accuracy.
“Medicine is like music and martial arts; you can never master it, and it has been around for centuries,” he said. “The master, or the sensei in martial arts, does the basics correctly every single time. It’s interesting we think the master must be extraordinarily complex, but a concert pianist will sit down and practice the scales and a martial artist will practice the Kata slowly. Anyone who has done either martial arts or music will tell you that it is much harder to do things slowly and accurately than it is to speed through things, and the same philosophy applies to the application of the art of medicine.”
To delve deeper into Dr. Leming's insights, you can listen to the full PX Space podcast interview on major podcast platforms or by clicking the icon included in this feature article.