The wounds run deep

Today was a new adventure into the world of how to better communicate with one another to improve the safety of our patients. From discussions of transparency, a game of teeter-totter, and a captivating lecture from John Nance there was more than enough material to fill every crevice of my mind. As I look back at page upon page of harried notes that I took about interesting statements, ideas for professional improvement, and negotiation techniques I find my self unsure of my abilities to begin the process of altering the attitudes of those around me when I return to my medical school.

I was reminded this evening that there are emotional and professional wounds that run deep into the core of the healthcare profession.  These wounds have, unfortunately, been caused by our own team players. As an EMT for two and a half years and now as a student, I have been and am privy to and the target of many occasions where the young and the lesser were reprimanded, glared, or yelled back into their proper position. This perpetuated all levels of emergency room healthcare and was handed down from doctors, nurses, paramedics, ER techs, EMTs, volunteers, and students towards their supposed inferiors. None of us are exempt. Let me say that again; NONE of us are exempt from these deprecating activities.

As I left my last day of volunteer EMT work a mere 9 months ago to pursue an MD, I remember taking a moment to talk with my EMT and Paramedic partners: Patrick and Ruben. My biggest fear of attending medical school? That I would become jaded. That I would become that physician who handed out retribution as quickly and as common place as a medication order. It is my sincere hope that by being cognizant of the reality of the possibility will help me to recognize my failure as a leader and take immediate actions to apologize and correct my actions. It is my belief that the healthcare community can be saved from our self-destructive actions and attitudes. The community that is formed here at Telluride, Colorado is the first link in a chain of support networks to keep us directed and in-tune with the reality of our own failures. The tools that have been taught here of negotiation, transparency, interprofessionalism, and leadership are our only defenses against a jaded professional attitude and practice.

As Dan Ford said yesterday ~ “Never forget your true north.”