Sunday, August 08, 2004

Leadership in the Emergency Department

It's been a strange day. While Marie and I were at my mum's place today, we got a call from her mum saying she needed to go into hospital. Turns out she has a collapsed lung, which is pretty serious. Thankfully, she's resting well and not in much pain - and the doctors are working to find out exactly what's the cause, and what to do about it.

It's been years since I've been in Auckland Hospital - never as a patient, but my mum used to frequent the E.D. in her tachycardia days (long story). What a change there has been! What we experienced this afternoon/evening was a model for hospitals. Here's why:
  • Planning and design - the staff desk was in the centre, surrounded by patient rooms which faced the desk. Staff at the desk could instantly see how everything was, and patients didn't feel forgotten.
  • Sense of purpose - somehow they have built up a culture of positivity (we had a feeling that everything was going to be okay, and this was conveyed by each staff member we met)
  • Openness of communication - an impressive thing for the healthcare system. In the past their approach has been like the church in the Dark Ages ... we know best, you know nothing. These days, doctors respect the patient's capacity for knowledge about their own health. The doctor looking after Marie's mum explained exactly what was happening each step of the way. I for one am impressed.

So you see, lessons come in all shapes and sizes - at any time!


At 3:45 pm, Blogger Borscht said...

I can certainly say a thing or two about this. I have grand criticisms for the rash of (surprisingly so) great TV shows like 'Six Feet Under' and 'Alias' -- due to the exegencies of filming on location under budget -- 'hospital sequences' are generally shot in disused or former hospitals outside of a main urban area -- one theory that I am positing -- if people are constantly bombarded by the 'typical' long-corridored hospital setup, then how might they be 'gently cajoled' (a propagandistic term, but so insidiously important) into demanding more from their hospitals -- let's not even go there when it comes to health care in the US. Also, a film called: John Q starring Denzel Washington. The hospital there wasn't anything to write home about:

I'm glad the experience was good. More 'beehive' type of configurations will be good for the gander.

- AM


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