Every patient is a test

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Great story…

 I once had a professor that had spent a year at Cambridge. He told a story about their entrance exam that has stuck with me for 20 years now:

He said the final stage of the admissions process involved potential students coming in to the testing facility (after clearing whatever other ridiculous academic hurdles are necessary to go to Cambridge) and answering one (1) essay question. A panel of five professors sat facing the students, waiting to critique their responses by committee. On the strength of this single answer, they would either be told yes or no. So a room is filled with the nervous, ridiculously smart kids, trying to set the course for their future, etc., etc., and they sat down to open their test booklets. When they cracked the seal, these were the only words they found inside:

“Is this a question?”

The poor kids were stunned, panicky, everything you’d expect in response to something like that. But then, one by one, they began crafting elongated, philosophical answers—just hoping to get anywhere near whatever the target response was supposed to be. He said a colleague told him they had used this question several times before, and some responses were up to 5-6 pages, referencing Socrates, Nietzsche, you name it. This particular day was no different. Except for one student. While everyone else was busily scratching away at drafts, one young man was finished within a single minute. He put down his pencil, turned in his booklet, and left. The committee assumed he had cracked under the pressure and have given up. They opened the essay, and this was his answer:

“It is, if this is an answer.”

At Cambridge, this is generally regarded as the best response ever given to that question. I don’t even care if the story is true; and I hope to make a point myself.  We work in a world of exact science.  We care for patients and our focus is on health and wellness.  We also deal with people and no two people are alike.  The CT scan a patient receives or the medication prescribed may be the same but every patient is different and every patient a test.  If every patient is a test, individualized care is the answer and GVMH does a great job at individualizing care.

About Craig Thompson

I am a young professional with two great sons, and I work in the healthcare setting. I am employed in hospital administration and serve as Chief Operating Officer at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton, Missouri. These are challenging and exciting times in healthcare and my blog will focus on healthcare, raising boys or being raised by boys, and living in mid America.
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