Monday, June 13, 2011

What does Bon Jovi or U2 have to do with The Health Train Express?

These images came to mind while I was reading what Brandon Betancourt (a pediatric practice administrator had to say about  your staff (and you) putting on a consistent show for your patients. KevinMD in his blog shared Brandon’s take on enabling consistency in the practice on a daily basis and at moments of fatigue and near burnout periods of the day.

I can only add a small addition to Brandon’s excellent allegory about performers, stage hands, physicians and their staffs.  I remember as a medical student and training asking myself how I could build my stamina and reliability for my patients. I used the same methodology of pretending I was an actor, performing for each patient encounter.  I pictured myself as a third person in the room rather than myself (not unlike an out of body experience).

Unlike actors however physicians are presented with a unique situation for each patient, requiring a different role, and most of the time requiring a different act to suit the clinical objective of the day’s visit.

I always wondered how actors and performers such a  Celine Dion,  and some very experienced performers accomplished this necessary . 

The best actors very rarely miss a beat, the process when repeated often enough becomes automatic.  Surgeons have their automatic movements in the operating room, a ritual performance, like a maestro, part of, but also the leader of the team. The supporting actors (actresses) take their cue from the main character.  Asking an actor,performer, dancer, musician or artist  to do less is anathema.  The same for a surgeon or physician.  .

Medical clinicians should do the same, and act as leaders for their staff by example.  I think Mr. Betancourt’s lesson by allegory is an outstanding way to teach all office and hospital allied health providers their roles in the play of medicine.

The method served me well for over 35 years, and hopefully my last ‘act; was as good or better than my first act in 1969.

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