There is so much I want to share about my interactions with so many people in and out of healthcare on this blog…I will try to keep it to one observation at a time!
During the past five years or so, I have been extremely privileged to speak at conferences all over the country. After most presentations, there is a question and answer period (which is always painful to me personally). I wait and pray there will be someone brave enough to ask a question. The moments usually drag on…and, at last, there will be a question. Usually that question is simple – no controversy. But, what never ceases to amaze me is that after these presentations, there is a line a people waiting to ask questions or tell me their personal stories that they weren’t comfortable enough to share publicly. Until recently, the personal stories were usually from clinicians who had been at the sharp end of an adverse event and got no support whatsoever. They still felt horrible about what had happened.
In the last six months to a year, though, there has been a bit of a shift. Now, those personal stories are from clinicians who, as patients or family members, have experienced the “Wall of Silence” when things don’t go right. This is the same “Wall of Silence” that patients and families have been encountered for quite a long time. The emotional pain that they feel is compounded by the fact they feel betrayed “by their own,” so to speak.
We all have to work together to help healthcare figure out how to tear down this Wall and build a Bridge to effective communication and partnership between the patients and families and clinicians. Does anyone have ideas for how we can continue working on this?