We must come to terms with the fact that rudeness is a serious problem and throw out any idea that it is somehow worth putting up with to get the job done. The reality is, not only does it not get the job done, it actually makes the job harder.
We must aspire to be more than covers bands, playing the same popular tunes that everyone has heard before and loves to sing along with. We must write our own songs, new songs, play them loudly and risk being ridiculed because, just like Rock & Roll, trying to make medicine better is a risk.
As a man I really only get to see the world of medicine from a male perspective. Sure I'm a reasonably intelligent, modern man and I occasionally hear comments from my female colleagues but is that enough? Just as 360 degree feedback helps you see yourself better, hearing people with a different viewpoint talk about medicine gives you a more rounded, more realistic picture of our professional culture. Spending a regular half hour listening to women talking about the experience of medicine from their perspective is enlightening...and shocking.
We all love to watch experts at work, they make what they do look so effortless, and whilst it is certainly possible to learn from watching these people in action it is even better to have them explain exactly what, why and how they do what they do. Traditionally we learn most of our clinical medicine by watching experts, rows of medical students sat in the outpatient clinic or juniors following the consultant on their ward round or theatre list. So, is there a way we can make our expert thinking more visible, a way to help them understand our actions?
Trust underpins who we are as doctors. We can talk all we like about autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence, create guidelines around confidentiality, consent and shared decision-making but none of it means anything if our patients don’t trust that we believe in and will uphold those ideals. Trust is everything.
I’ve been qualified for over twenty years now and in that time I’ve been at both ends of requests for help on countless occasions. Not only that, I’ve watched others go through the same process too and I’ve noticed a recurrent theme which I have called the Assistance Paradox: ‘The person who is in most need of help is the person least likely to get it’
Those who give positive feedback are focusing on the receiver, it is altogether a more altruistic behaviour. They are like the people who show up on the streets to cheer at running events, standing for hours to clap people on and shout encouragement, with nothing more to gain than the enjoyment of seeing others succeed. I think we need to show positive feedback, or more correctly the people who take the time to give it, the respect they deserve.