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It Is the Little Things That Matter

A Correction to this article was published on 06 August 2021

This article has been updated


How can you prove that you are providing high-quality care? As a consultant breast surgeon, the author thought it meant doing the right thing to the right patient at the right time. She followed the latest clinical guidelines and audited her complication and mortality rates. However, when she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the age of 40 and found herself going through every treatment she prescribed to her patients, she realized that something was missing. She had not been truly focusing on the third factor of quality care—the patient experience. She found out the hard way about what it is really like for cancer patients to cope during treatment and beyond, and it changed her practice for the better. She started adding little things that she knew could make a massive difference to how her patients coped physically, mentally and emotionally with their breast cancer diagnosis. In this article, she shares with you some of the lessons she learned from the other side of the table and hopes you will consider using them to further improve the high-quality service you already provide.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth Louise O’Riordan MBChB, FRCS, PhD, PGDip (Oncoplastic Surgery).

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Elizabeth Louise O’Riordan declare that they have no conflict of interest

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The original online version of this article has been revised: The author's affiliation was corrected.

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O’Riordan, E. It Is the Little Things That Matter. Ann Surg Oncol 28, 5473–5476 (2021).

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