A reflection of our role as healers

Important topics were covered today including disclosure, transparency, consent, and shared decision making. It seems only logical that when these techniques are used, it not only empowers the patient, but takes away some of the burden from the physician. These decisions are to be made as a team. It is not our job to make a decision for the patient. It is also important to manage expectations, for both the patient and the practitioner. We should form an alliance with our patients to walk the path of recovery together.

Day 2-On Compassion and Professionalism

Professionalism according to webster’s dictionary  -“the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well”.

This afternoon we discussed whether it is professional behavior to reflect compassion, empathy, etc. using body language. In the right setting i think it is not only appropriate, but expected that a physician join a patient down the emotional journey of illness. This does not mean a physician is expected to cry every time a patient’s family is grieving, but it should not be interpreted as a sign of weakness. We sought this profession (I hope) because we enjoy being caretakers, and sharing in the joys/horrors of the human experience. Patients seek us because they want a person to help and guide them. In the right setting, letting your feeling get the best of you may be just what a grieving family member needs.


I am so lucky to be in Telluride!

I am so happy to have read Nick’s post entitled I am not alone. This is probably still the most overwhelming sentiment that I feel.

Today really reinforced that although I am not alone, I am certainly not a good negotiator. I think that this is such an important skill in medicine, but particularly when we are fighting some uphill battles in our hospitals with patient safety issues. Particularly, with culture change and administrative leadership, I think it is so important to convince those in charge that your project/idea/need is worthwhile. But, in order to do so, you need some negotiating skills and need to figure out how you can advance their interests by advancing your own. This is definitely something that I will approach all future discussions with in the forefront of my mind.

Again, what an amazing cast of peers, leaders, and inspirational people! I am so lucky to be in Telluride.

Day 2

Greetings again, another great day in Telluride learning about patient safety. Focused on informed consent, a topic which seems straight forward but is very complex.

Seems like the process and forms that we utilize in getting consent for procedures varies a lot from institution to institution. It has always come across as a ‘permission slip’ to do the procedure for the patient. But to reduce it to that is really a mistake and disservice to the patient.

Taking time to do a proper informed consent, explain the risks, benefits and alternatives provides a level playing field for the patient to ask or question any unexpected events. It helps to add another set of eyes to evaluating the course of care and recovery.

The importance of a conversation can not be overstated.

Telluride patient safety roundtable Day #2
We discussed negotiation and various important concepts and strategies concerning negotiation. The negotiation exercises today were very helpful in illustrating and communicating the key concepts presented. Something I found particularly interesting was distinguishing interest from position. An important distinction as this can completely turn a conversation into a win-win for both parties if their underlying interests are addressed. Also, an interesting comment was made about the able to participate in a negotiation and at the same time having a different perspective where you are actually watching yourself from a balcony. This I believe is somewhat related to mindfulness – as an evaluation of your on mental processes and judgments.

We also discussed the informed consent and patient centered care. So many good points and ideas were brought up in discussion but something I hadn’t given enough thought to–the significance/importance the emotional stresses can have… Continue reading


I have had several moments this week when I have not been proud of medicine, but today I was a very proud resident of Poudre Valley Hospital and Fort Collins Family Medicine Residency Program. We were discussing the informed consent process and although I acknowledge that there is always room to grow, I was proud of the dedication to patient safety and education that our medical community exhibits and strives to achieve. I can’t wait to come home and share what I’ve learned to make us an even better magnet hospital!

What have I been doing?

I have been blaming the air for my shortness of breath.  And I have been blaming the allergy season for my tears during the film showings on these two days.   The truth is that I have been having more visceral reactions toward the patient safety stories.   It gets emotional easily when I think that my family could have been the one affected by similar events.

Obtaining informed consents occupies a relatively minor part of a resident’s day.  After viewing Michael’s story, I have to ask whether it should be the case.   The moment when an informed consent is being obtained, usually is a critical time in a patient’s stay: it means a likely diagnosis was suggested and it means a possible treatment has been proposed.

It should be a time of many questions: how was the diagnosis obtained?  what else could… Continue reading

By Melissa Clarkson, Patient Advocate

My mother and I are spending the next few days in Colorado participating in the Telluride Patient Safety Roundtable & Summer Camp This event brings together leaders in patient safety, medical residents, and a few family members of people who were victims of medical errors. It is a small group, about forty-some people. The purpose is to promote safety and disclosure in the healthcare system, with an emphasis on training the next generation of healthcare leaders.

I have three thoughts to share from yesterday.


My first thought is about the words we use to name things. I think that words reveal a great deal about people’s priorities, and words can strongly influence the mindset of those training in medical professions. So we need to think carefully about the power of words. There were two phrases used today that make me very uncomfortable…To read the rest of… Continue reading

Fresh air for fresh perspectives

JSuh_BlogPhoto_061014Sometimes we need to step out of the confines of our hospitals, clinics, and institutional cultures of inertia and status quo to get fresh perspectives on health care improvement. Lucky for us, we are breathing in spectacularly fresh Telluride air to engage in critical conversations around patient safety with world-renowned leaders and a room full of amazing residents from across the country from CIR, COPIC, MedStar and others. I’m looking forward to tackling difficult topics of transparency, communication, and leadership. I know what I learn this week will make me a better family doctor, patient advocate, and physician leader. I have a sneaking suspicion I will also be a more conscientious spouse, daughter, sister and friend!





With day one behind us,  we must realize that we are only human and mistakes do happen, BUT we must take ownership of each mistake.  We must work toward involving our patients in future change.