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Posts Tagged ‘Doctors’

WINDBAGGERY AND PONTIFICATION

December 7th, 2013 45 comments

 

politician-windbagDefinition of Pontification from the Urban Dictionary

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pontification

The act of speaking out for the purpose of hearing oneself speak.
Posturing…speaking to people that don’t really care what you say one way or another since you’re speaking solely to front yourself as “someone in charge”.
Speech or written communication that is generally pointless except to cast favorable light upon the speaker or author as if the message were a pronouncement from on high.


Usually full of shit.

 

As those who know me have observed, I am spending a lot of my time at conferences these days.  The topic is always pertinent to Patient Safety, because that has become my true calling.  I am finally confident enough to speak up at these conferences and meetings.  It took me a while to get to this point, because I was angry, grieving and skeptical and I might have come across as whiny or mean.    But, most of all, I never wanted anyone to call me a windbag.

 

We all know wind bags.  But, no profession is any better at being WBs than doctors.  Please do not get me wrong.  I know, respect and honor many doctors and many of them are my friends and colleagues.  I have learned so much from doctors, and a few have given me excellent treatment and care.  I am not casting a big net here when I say that some doctors are the biggest windbags I have ever met, and they have really honed their skills at their windbaggery.

 

Example.  When I attend conferences, I consider myself an equal with all of the other attendees and presenters.  I may not have the titles and letters behind my name or the years of education, but I wouldn’t be there if the conference organizers and I didn’t think I had something to offer.  It has taken me a long time to build my experience, education and passion to a point where I feel like I can make a contribution in the form of comments and questions, and sometimes as a speaker or part of a panel presentation.   When I started my advocacy for Patient Safety 5 years ago, I barely said anything in my meetings.  Now I do, and I want to, but I honestly do try to hold and organize my thoughts and I politely wait my turn.  And I do not go on and on and on and on, with what I have to say.  I try to sound intelligent, respectful and sometimes humorous and to make my message important and brief.    When I know that there are several other people behind me waiting for their turn at the microphone, I keep it brief.

Now Doctors….that is another story.  Some doctors are just fine…they introduce themselves as a doctor, say where they work and go on with their brief comment or question.  These brilliant doctors can often say so much in such a short time that I know I MUST pay close attention.

MDWBs are a different story. ( Medical Doctor Wind Bags).   I recently listened to one like that.  He was about my age, quite heavy, very imposing and extremely long winded.  He spent the first 5 minutes at the mike listing his titles, his jobs, his schools, his professional accomplishments, and his IMPORTANCE!   This pontification of HIMSELF made me bite my tongue, and gave me heartburn.  Then after that 5 minutes he launched into his comment.  He had no questions for the presenters…he just wanted to be sure he had HIS comments heard.  I lost interest after he listed his first several titles, and I remember very little of what he had to say.  He conducted this boring self-portrait and comment while at least a half dozen other attendees waited behind him for their turn to comment  ….he had no regard for anyone except himself. I did not get to make my comment on that particular presentation and neither did about 6 others, because this doctor was so long winded.   That kind of ego and arrogance  can actually get a doctor into trouble in his/her practice.

When I described this experience to my lifelong friend Charlotte, she said that these meetings ought to have a GONG!  HA…what a great idea.  I honestly think I will suggest this to the organizers of the event I just attended.

Another example of MD Windbaggery in these meetings is when we have workshops with doctors.  We are all equals in those workshops.  We all start out politely, and with respect for each other and our time, and we raise our hands to be called on in order.  Then one long winded doctor speaks, and another doctor feels the need to respond out of turn, and all of a sudden, it is a doctor to doctor conversation, and the rest of us, who politely hold up our hands to be called on, are left out.  A woman sitting next to me at my most recent conference (also a patient advocate) said  “I’m deflated”, and she put her hand down.   Disgusting.  When I had about lost my patience with this arrogance and rudeness, I whispered in our meeting facilitator’s ear that my hand had been up for a really long time.

So, my suggestion for a solution to this windbaggery and pontification is a GONG…..or maybe a little bell or gavel,  and time limits for every single comment or question……including those of DOCTORS.

Emotional and intellectual revelations in Patient Safety Advocacy

April 9th, 2013 2 comments

Every single day, I learn.  I am learning more now than I have in 43 years as an RN, about being a patient.  I have learned how to be a safe. engaged patient, from other patients and from patient safety activists and advocates.  A rare few professional doctor and nurse advocates are stepping forward too, and talking about important patient issues, like safety and good practices.  They discuss the necessary steps to avoid medical harm or infections in healthcare settings.  They talk about how unsafe staffing levels in hospitals and long term care facilities is a contributing factor to patient harm and complications.  Some of my colleagues are engaged more in the issues of healthcare transparency and accountability of both quality and costs.  They fight for affordable healthcare and reporting of all medical harm.  Some even work toward meaningful apologies by professionals and hospitals if harm has occurred.

I have come to realize that I worked for a dysfunctional industry and I was complicit in it.  That makes me feel sad and guilty.  I got coopted by my employers because I needed the paycheck.  I know, that is no excuse, but  I was part of things that I am ashamed of.

Example#1

When I was called “into the office” once and told about a woman who had been harmed when I was a triage nurse one day, I felt absolutely awful.  I remembered her in detail.  I remembered that she was in excruciating pain, and that her primary nurse was snotty to her and made derogatory remarks about her.  I remembered her very concerned and dedicated husband.  I remembered everything, and my first reaction was that I really wanted to talk to that patient.  My instructions were “you do not talk to anybody about this except the legal team.  you do not even talk to your coworkers about this”.  This patient had been harmed during surgery prior to her ER visit and then she was RE harmed in our ER that day.  She nearly died as a result.  A lot of years have passed, but someday I am going to call her and try to talk to her.

Example #2

When I worked in a Hospital employee health department, I got a call one day from the Loss Prevention Director.  He asked me about a SOAP nurses note I had written.  He wanted me to change it.  I believe he wanted that because it would help the Hospital’s case against that employee in a Workman’s Compensation hearing.  I was very proud of myself that day for not cow towing to that man.  I absolutely refused to compromise my professional integrity to “do good” for our employer.  The entire experience disgusted me, but that time I did stand by my patient and my convictions.

Example #3

Way back in my very early days of RN practice, a nurse always assisted the doctor. If  Dr. said jump the nurse asked “how high?”  One doctor I knew was a mean red faced bastard.  He was mean to me, and mean to patients.  He refused to allow any parents into the room when he sutured their children.  One child cried uncontrollably, even with my attempts to comfort him.  The doctor stuffed a wad of gauze sponges into the child’s mouth to silence him.  I was horrified….and I reported him to his superior.  But, I never told the parents.  I was complicit in that abuse, because I was scared out of my mind of this horribly mean doctor.   My fear overcame my moral responsibility to the patient and family.  It is the legal responsibility of all healthcare professionals to report known child abuse.  I was very young, stupid and scared.

I hate that all of this and a whole lot more,  happened during my practice as a nurse.  I have come to know that not all doctors and Hospital leaders are evil, but some are, and  many, if not most see evil every day and they turn away and ignore it.  I did to, and I live every day with that guilt.   The entire practice of nursing and medicine needs to be revamped if patients are ever going to become the priority.  Professional schooling needs to teach ethics, humanity, caring and compassion, instead of elitism and protectionism.

What can I do about it?  I can work my tail off in retirement to make things different for patients….ALL patients.  I can share my professional and personal stories in my writing, my presentations, amongst my friends and colleagues to make a difference.  I feel a burning need to do this…..something like breathing.  If I don’t, how can I ever say that I was/am a nurse?  How can hold my head up and be proud that  I helped thousands of sick vulnerable patients.  Sadly, not all of my patients’ needs were met, and some were even harmed.   I am proud of the good I did for patients, but now it’s time to see about the ones I (and others) have failed……