Thursday, September 25, 2014

Can health care help hire our heroes?

I know we all feel gratitude to the men and women of our armed forces and do our best in helping them re-enter civilian society after their tours of duty.  One leading program along those lines, run by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is called "Hiring Our Heroes."  The program was launched in March 2011 as a nationwide initiative "to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities."

It occurs to me that the health care world can offer jobs that might take advantage of the special skills and training of many in the military.  Those of us who have been advocating for an improvement in the team processes and communication in health care often take note of lessons to be learned from military settings.  Crew Resource Management, for example, was invented by the military to deal with high-pressure, cockpit environments where a strict hierarchy of authority is required, but where every member of the team has a responsibility to help ensure the safety of the entire team.  There is a direct parallel with the environment of operating rooms and intensive care units and other settings in hospitals, where a senior physician might be in charge of the "cockpit," but where every member of the team has a responsibility to help avoid harm to patients.

I note that the Chamber's program has a number of corporate sponsors, but I don't see much involvement yet from many health care systems (HCA being the notable exception.)  Perhaps this is an area worthy of attention from hospital leaders, who might thereby help a willing and able workforce of worthy veterans supplement their usual hiring patterns--and in so doing, help infuse systems of team management and communication that can bring benefit to the clinical staff, patients, and families.

No comments: