Communication is something that sounds so simple, yet can be so complicated. When we tell someone to do something or express how we feel, it seems so clear in our heads, but when the words leave our mouths there are a million different ways it can be interpreted. And sometimes, the words never even register in the minds of the people we speak to.
Today, we took a little field trip to Washington DC to pay a visit to the Arlington National Cemetery, which serves as the final resting place for around 400,000 soldiers that bravely defended our country over the course of history. Coincidentally, this year it was reported that 400,000 people died as a result of a medical error. The reality of this statistic suddenly became so real as I looked about at the hills of endless white tombstones so carefully placed. Us medical professionals are responsible for this tragic figure. Maybe many of these deaths could have been prevented by simply giving more clear instructions to team members or taking the time to resolve the obstacles of conversation. The workshops we had earlier in the morning stressed the theme of effective communication and active listening, and it brought to my mind all the different ways that I could improve. It will be my responsibility to navigate these waters in such a way to minimize the amount of potential miscommunication. And with a better awareness of the situation, I hope to take a step towards a higher quality of healthcare for the people who will be entrusted in my care someday.