Monday, August 04, 2014

What Mona learned

Mona Beier attended last week's patient safety camp in Maryland (aka, Telluride East) and posted some deep thoughts after the experience.  Here's an excerpt:

I have had some really negative realizations of myself during these past few days. I hate to admit this, but during a lot of the talks and the videos, I saw things that I had done, and I have seen my colleagues do time and time again. It is almost a daily occurrence that I hear people labeling patients as “high maintenance” if they ask questions about their healthcare or if they “challenge” our decisions and our actions. 

I have replayed imagery in my mind about how many times I have rushed through explaining informed consents, or felt hurried to get histories and physicals because I have 48392 other things to do (seemingly). Or, how many times I have interrupted and not listened. 

I have thought about times when I have anchored, or had premature closure of patients I was taking care of—and it wasn’t until they were not getting better or something was going wrong that I ever stopped and thought that, hmm I could be wrong or that I was missing something. The talks at the conference have made me realize that I should be doing this every day–stopping, taking time to think–and say, is this what’s going on? what would be the worst thing that I could miss? should I go back and get more history? does this make sense?

Moreover, I thought about times when something actually did go wrong–when patients on my team have gone to the ICU or have died. I tried to replay in my mind,  and again, I saw myself saying “oh, they were very sick”–almost trying to justify it to make myself feel better. Being here these past few days is going to make me view this completely differently. I am going to take the time to think about what happened when things went wrong. Was it preventable? Was there something else we could have done? Why did this happen in the first place? What were the series of events that led up to this? Did I call the family? And more importantly, was my conversation meaningful with the family? Did I address their needs and reassure them? Was I there for them like I would want someone to be there for my family member?

There are a lot of other lessons I have learned. All I really know is that I am walking out of here a better person than when I came in. This conference has inspired me to take a deeper look into who I am—what kind of physician I want to be—and what kind of person and role model I want to be to my peers, my patients, and really everyone in my life.  I am inspired to try and break the mold of the culture we have grown so accustomed to—the culture where everything seems to be about me–and remind both myself and others that is not why we are here.


Don Sharpe said...

This is a journey of self discovery that often begins with the negative feelings Mona describes.
I've been down this road, thinking back to the many calls I've done where I was 'Paramedic Champion of Patient Care', but then also remembering calls where I was perhaps less than adequate because I was tired or hurting, which resulted in me bringing my own problems and preconceived ideas into a patient's home.
Reading and sharing these stories on a consistent basis encourages the self reflection necessary to be a truly outstanding health care provider.

Anonymous said...

There are a number of doctors that I feel very sorry for, because they get thrown into this system. I have some that don't have any voice telling them this is wrong. My concern is how can we get together to work for the betterment of things?

Anonymous said...

This such a great post. Thank you – I appreciate the changes you trigger and then support.

Barbara said...

Now Mona Beier has become an inspiration. This should be mandatory reading for all physicians young and old.