Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Weekly Tidbit #11 -- Letting go

by Paul Uhlig

In the evolution of collaborative care programs, a common question is often heard that arises from a sense of time scarcity and overwork. The question is, "Who needs collaborative care, and who doesn't?"

When this question is asked, it usually comes with a perception that collaborative care (the bedside rounds part of collaborative care), takes a long time, and that more familiar, "non-collaborative" care, is faster and easier.

If you find your team asking this question, you might want to reflect about what this question is telling you. At least operationally, this question is saying that your team is standing with its feet in two worlds. The problem with working partially in a collaborative way and partially in a traditional way, is that your team is therefore carrying and using patterns from both approaches, patterns which are quite different and often fundamentally conflicting. Keeping and using two entirely different sets of discordant patterns, cycling between them while maintaining both, is a fatiguing burden. Having and using two patterns is probably keeping your team from reaching a smooth new collaborative efficiency -- an efficiency that will become available only when your team is able to let the old patterns go.

The responsibility of caring for patients is one of the greatest and most sacred things that a person or team could ever do. Teams approach that responsibility calmly, in part, because of the comfort of familiar patterns they know and trust. It is terrifying to let go of the patterns that we were taught and that we rely on to do our best. "Believing" in collaborative care involves a leap of faith and a commitment to new patterns, trusting that they will help us meet our responsibilities in even better ways.

The next time your team asks, "Who needs collaborative care, and who doesn't?", try this answer: "Everyone needs collaborative care."
Ask yourselves, "What can we do differently? What patterns can we rearrange throughout our day so we can make this happen?" 

There is a saying worth remembering: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go  together."

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