Treating patients with kindness as well as medicine

Having cared for his mother in her later years as she battled Alzheimer’s disease, Steven L. Spalding, M.D., can appreciate the value of positive human connections.

Steven L. Spalding, M.D., has been a physician for more than 25 years and counting. He practices a simple rule: Treat people the same way you want your loved ones to be treated.

Having cared for his mother in her later years as she battled Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Spalding can appreciate the value of positive human connections. He can relate to the impact a great human interaction can have from two sides of the health care relationship — as a caregiver for his mother and as health care provider.

“Being good to people is rewarding in itself,” said Dr. Spalding, a family medicine physician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Fern Creek. “But the kindness also helps create a partnership. If my patient knows I take interest in them by knowing about their family, hobbies or work, that same patient is going to be more willing to listen to me when I provide direction or medical advice to improve their health.”

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Ready to Talk When He Enters the Exam Room

Dr. Spalding likes to focus on the patient the minute he walks into the exam room.

“I review notes before I walk in the room, refreshing my mind of each patient’s circumstances,” he said. “Then I allow the patient to talk, share what is going on in their lives.”

The team at Norton Community Medical Associates – Fern Creek, agrees that Dr. Spalding provides his patients with exceptional medical care and a great experience with each office visit.

After one particular experience in which Dr. Spalding supported a patient during a sensitive time, Taylor Lee, medical assistant, took the time to write a note to her boss.

“Dr. Spalding is such a kind person; he made the patient feel a lot better and comfortable about the situation. It really warms my heart that we have such great providers caring for our patients,” she wrote.

Supporting Co-workers

Dr. Spalding finds it very important to form positive connections with his co-workers too. With eight providers serving the Fern Creek community, the office can get very busy. If Dr. Spalding sees an area where he can jump in to help, he does.

“If the medical assistants are busy and the next scheduled patient is ready to come back, I’ll go to the waiting area and get them. Or if a patient needs to walk to our lab, I will walk with them,” he said. “Those interactions are valuable to the patient, but it also demonstrates to the staff that I am here to support them too.”

Before joining Norton Medical Group in 2010, the Louisville native, who grew up in Okolona, was teaching future physicians at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine.

For 18 years, Dr. Spalding not only helped to shape the intellectual side of medicine, but also instilled in his students the importance of creating a positive impact with patients.

“I lead by example,” Dr. Spalding said. “And I hope I demonstrated to those future physicians the value of being good to people.”

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