“If you wouldn’t do it to your own child, then don’t do it to someone elses”
I recently completed my first year a member of the Clinton School Board of Education. I’m a heck of a lot better school board member today than I was a year ago and I’ll be an even better one a year from now. The education system is confusing to outsiders like me who don’t have a background in the system. Funding formulas, tenure, curriculum, instruction and a whole host of other things just don’t make sense but I’m learning and I’m starting to understand better.
What I do understand is how to treat people and I saw the above quote at a recent school board meeting and it reminded me of the true purpose of my role on the school board. The quote also resonated with me because it’s what we do, or should do, in health care every day as well.
When we provide care for a patient if our guiding principle should be to treat them like we would a family member. Think about this; if you were on the phone and one of your loved ones is in pain or ill walked up to your desk to schedule an appointment would you end the call immediately? If one of your loved ones got troubling results from a lab test or biopsy would you do everything within your power to schedule follow-up care as quickly as possible? If one of your loved ones was in the waiting room for an appointment would you check the status of their place in line and keep them informed? If your loved one needed anything, anything at all, would you be their biggest advocate?
The answer to each of these rhetorical questions is “YES”, yet everyday someone falls through the cracks in the health care system, not just ours but in every health care system across the country. A follow up appointment isn’t scheduled, a phone transfer is dropped, a phone call isn’t returned, people wait without being kept informed, pain isn’t addressed, anxiety isn’t relieved or something as simple as a smile isn’t shared.
We all have bad days but no matter how bad our day is the person we’re treating is having an even worse day. We provide health care services, most people don’t access health care unless they’re feeling bad or have a problem and because of that, their day is probably worse than the one we’re having no matter how bad we think it is.
I’d do anything for the two kids in this picture, they’re mine. In my role with the school board they serve as my litmus test for what’s right and in my role at the hospital they do the same.