On Wednesday, I participated in a ’spirited’ discussion about health care reform and the need for transformation. We are planning for the future. We are listening and learning. We are creating a safe place from which to share different perspectives and ideas. In a stubborn moment … suddenly these words … these paragraphs from author Paul Tripp flashed through my mind.
‘So, who’s schooling you?
There is never a day that passes without you being taken to school in some way. Life is really all about teaching and learning. And there is a way in which neither teaching or learning stops from the first until the last day of your life. So, perhaps one of the most important diagnostic questions that each of us should be asking is this,
“Do I approach life as a student?”
Willingness and openness are the essential characteristics of any good student. Why, you may ask? Because learning not only shows me what I didn’t know, but points out the places where what I thought I knew was, in fact, wrong. I cannot tell you in my many years of teaching how many defensive students I have met. “Defensive student” is an oxymoron, like “jumbo shrimp” or “low-fat butter.” You can’t be defensive … and be a student. You have to open up your heart. You have to be willing to be told that you are wrong. You have to submit yourself to someone who knows better and knows more. Defending what you know will not lead to either further or corrected understanding. Willingness to listen, consider, and change are in the heart of every good student.’
So, I am sure I will have a round two or three with my colleagues as we work together on the changes that are taking place in health care. May we each have discernment, focus and determination on behalf of patients and families. Discernment suggests we are serving with qualified teachers. From Paul Tripp’s writing:
‘We … live in a world of many, many voices. All of them are interpreting your world and all of them are vying for the allegiance of your heart. And you have to remember that learning is a process not an event. One truth opens the doorway to another truth. One truth functions as an interpreter of a truth previously introduced, but now understood more fully. Learning is a lifelong process and because it is, it requires perseverance.’
May we have perseverance on behalf of our patients to walk through these complex and difficult times as we strive to be The Choice for Medical Excellence. May we be open and willing to learn from patients and families, other team members and be evidence-based in our approach.