I have often heard “volun-tourism” used as a derogative phrase, generally referring to those who expend significant cost and effort to do charity work abroad. While the criticism implicit in this term comments primarily upon the selfishness of the work’s motivation, even if conducted with the purest of intentions, it can seem silly to leave and work abroad when there is so much progress that needs to be made in our own communities.
When thinking about the problems still existing in areas of patient safety, a similar framework seems to apply. In the same way that it seems unconscionable to step over homeless neighbors on our way to donate to an Asian charity, it seems unacceptable to continue to pursue new therapies and cures without addressing the everyday problems already rampant in our system. Both– the local, and the global– are necessary parts to better our community and our world… Continue reading
Over the past two days, we have identified countless different barriers to care: pressure to finish on time in the OR, the desire to discharge patients as quickly as possible, or the difficulty of having a patient-centered informed consent decision. Consistently, the difficulty seems to be one of time. The doctors don’t feel as if they have time to invest 100% of their attention to speaking with patients, and nurses are tasked with so many things that it almost seems as if we are asking them to be in two places at once.
This recurring appearance of time and temporal pressure suggests a few things. First, “patients” are called such for a reason– they require patience. There are some people that I have met who have a knack for making people feel like they are the center of the world. These people have a special gift that I think the… Continue reading