Reflections from the Roundtable

Reflecting on the first two days of the Patient Safety Summer Camp has made me realize how incredibly lucky and thankful I am to be here. Not only am I in spectacular Telluride, I am surrounded by students who share the same driving forces. I’m also gaining a network of faculty to help support the mission of patient centered care and to help translate that mission at medical centers across the country.
The main themes we’ve discussed so far center on the idea of open, honest, and clear communication. At first I was surprised to find this as the emphasis but now I fully understand how this basis of respectful and effective communication is vital to the mission of the Telluride camp. It allows us to converse with each other in meaningful ways and to think about our communication with members of the diverse heath care teams at home institutions. I can guarantee you that our cohort feels very comfortable now approaching a superior or colleague in a patient safety issue now that we have had this training. The opportunity to think about, discuss, and act out those scenarios is essential for us to take action. The simulations using the CUS method, the Two question rule,  and the case discussion are exercises that I wish every medical student could participate in.
With clear communication comes culture change. My definition of leadership is changing. I am learning that a good leader is really an excellent communicator. In healthcare, a leader is one that empowers all levels of health care delivery; from empowering a patient to ask questions and rightfully receive second opinions, to rewarding nurses for catching near-misses, to encouraging surgeons to abandon the “CYA” approach and embrace full disclosure. It makes me question the metrics we use in medicine to judge and evaluate. Why are we using the number of journal articles published or grant funding as basis for promotion? Why are we ignoring the importance of good communication, early on, in medical school admissions?
As the complexity of medicine continues to rise, the coordination of care and the communication across specialities becomes urgently important. I am looking forward to sharing these next few days with future leaders- bluegrass, beer, BBQ and all.