Be Courageous

Premier Pulse     July 2019

By Scott Kanagy, DO, chief medical officer, Premier Health Northern Region

Kanagy_HS_350x350What does it mean to be courageous in health care? Does it mean to step in and save a life when few others can? Does it mean performing a procedure that few others can? Does it mean finding a cure for a disease that has killed millions? I would define all of the above as courageous. However, can being courageous also mean thinking about how to do things in health care differently to achieve better outcomes? Exploring how to do things differently rather than accepting the way it has always been done? Challenging the norm? Asking “Why?” more often? Having the courage to bring your ideas to others and being open to others’ ideas brought to you? Keeping an open mind to all options with the goal of a better future?

Could being courageous mean having the courage to kindly remind a fellow health care worker to wash their hands? Or pointing out to them that they were rushed and might not have explained everything to a patient as well as they could have? Showing up five minutes late to a meeting because you took the time to walk a lost patient to where they needed to be in the hospital? Taking the time to recognize when a fellow health care giver is hurting or feeling overwhelmed with the stress that our jobs place on us? Could it mean challenging ourselves to say “Hello” to every person we walk past in a day? Could it mean thanking another person in the hospital whose contributions are necessary for you to do your job? Could it mean having a difficult, uncomfortable conversation with someone else on your team to explain how they could better support the team and bring about high quality care?

I fear that although we rightfully celebrate and reward many of the first acts I described as being courageous in health care, we rarely celebrate or reward the latter acts. It takes not only the acts that only a few of us can provide, but also all the small courageous acts that we as a system undertake daily to truly be a high-quality health care system. We have the people and expertise to be the best health care system in Southwest Ohio. But do we have the culture to do the small daily activities needed to truly be a courageous health care network? The answer to that question is YES. With that being said, I am stepping forward and will try to be courageous by calling all of us out for not doing enough of the small things on a daily basis that will keep us courageous as a system.

Be courageous today, and every day going forward, and hold all Premier Health employees to that same standard.

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