Unfortunately, I do not always take the time to read the comments to posts or articles made by my colleagues, but today I did. Regardless of the topic, the same theme emerges, “if you just let me practice how I believe I should, all will be well.” Containing numerous layers and meanings, this comment, at its core, is an incorrect premise, “what we are accomplishing today in healthcare works and is what the consumer desires.” How wrong can we be? No matter where you turn, all will agree that the healthcare delivery in this country is sub-optimal.
Undeniably, as professionals, we have skills and talents that are unique. Yes, we undoubtedly care and have joined a noble cause to care for those in their greatest times of vulnerability. Unquestionably, we arise every morning with the greatest intentions to provide holistic, reverent care to those we encounter. We work diligently to improve ourselves by continuously learning. However, for us to deliver on all these truths, it requires being honest with ourselves and acknowledging the need for improvement in multiple dimensions that have previously gone without great focus. Consequently, these areas of enhancement must come from our internal vocations. Self-regulation and monitoring are necessitated; otherwise, others will attempt to solve the ailments of our system without understanding all the complexities. Repeatedly, we notice this occurring in industries that fail to act uniformly for the benefit of those they serve.
External control will never deliver the same optimal results as the internalization of solving the problem at hand. Although healthcare is extraordinarily complex and requires conversations and interventions at numerous levels, at its core is the need for the healthcare profession to grab the reigns of change and lead the charge. Self-awareness of our role and responsibility to both the individual and society is the first step. Only through self-reflection and external feedback will we avail ourselves to becoming the driver of the solutions rather than being viewed as part of the problem.
Powerlessness occurs when we throw up our hands and proclaim, “if only they would leave me alone, all will be fine.” We in the healing profession have been given an immense blessing. We are invited into the lives of those we serve and are given insights no others are so privileged to witness. We owe it to ourselves and to those that have entrusted us with their health and well-being to push ourselves to continuously improve and co-create enhanced models of care that put those we serve as the center.
Let us change the narrative to one of success. Only through solidarity and common purpose will we rise above our current doldrums. The challenge is to harness the same energy we expand to those we serve as individuals to the communal needs of all as a society. During times of turmoil, greater leadership is needed. Our imperative is not to just expound on the issues, but also offer suggestions for a better model, even if it requires us to change or views and actions.