Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Taking Back My Profession

Two weeks ago, I was in Nashville attending Healthcare Performance Improvement’s annual Safety Summit. Physician, Nursing and Administrative leaders from across the country attend. It provided such a great perspective on improving the safety of our nation’s healthcare organizations. Dr. Antonio S. from Milwaukee shared with me his story. He is a practicing surgeon with ‘no title’ as he put it. However, he had a passion for safety and these summits along with the network of people he meets revitalize him and keep his passion for safety alive. He indicated the difficulty in keeping that energy he goes back into the day to day grind. He spoke about his desire to "take back his medical profession and not lose sight of why he entered into the field."

With Healthcare Reform on many of our minds, I am trying to get a sense of what other health systems are doing as we explore our own strategies. One large health system indicated their focus on Reform with a few "simple" focus areas: Manage supplies and labor expenses, incorporate LEAN processes throughout their organization, grow key services and always, always provide exceptional care. Another reminder on why we all entered into the field.

Today, I was reading some information on and came across the following that made me think about the examples above:

In 1979, M*A*S*H star and actor, Alan Alda, provided the commencement address to Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons’ graduating class. He was the first non-physician to provide this address.

"It’s certainly true that I’m not a doctor. I have a long list of non-qualifications. In the first place I’m not a great fan of blood. I don’t mind people’s having it, I just don’t enjoy seeing them wear it. I have yet to see a real operation because the mere smell of a hospital reminds me of a previous appointment. And my knowledge of anatomy resides in the clear understanding that the hip bone is connected to the leg bone. I am not a doctor. But you have asked me, and all in all, I think you made a wonderful choice."

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