Posture

Posture is a very interesting topic. It is how we hold ourselves, physically and mentally/emotionally.

It clearly applies to our physical body – being upright and awesome as a good friend used to say. Coincidentally, how you’re carrying your body also suggests how you are feeling emotionally. Confident, arrogant, distracted, depressed, etc. These characteristics are held internally but can be identified by others, externally – for those that choose to see (but that is another post for another time).

What is most interesting are the mental postures we hold.

The few that stand out are:

  • Kindness
  • Generosity
  • Being present

While there are many more to list, for me, this is as good place to start as any. As we can learn from Tom Peters, a bias for action, is the most important step towards excellence. All of these types of postures can be applied to ourselves and to others and show up slightly differently depending on our given situation. So I start here…because there’s a lifetime of work with just these three ideas.

A place to build to is – Ethos – “meaning character that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology.”

Stay tuned as we dig into each of these, and more, in the next few blog posts.

Squirrel

There are many days when you get distracted. Other days, you’re in flow.

Interestingly, the moment of “Squirrel” is something like Shrödinger’s cat. That specific moment could simultaneously be a distraction or an inspiration. Only by seeing what happens next will you know which one it is.

While this is a loose extrapolation it does offer us an opportunity to realize that we get to choose (in that moment) what our next step will be – a distraction or inspiration.

What situations have the highest probability to pull you away and what can you choose to do in that situation?

PS – I’m not a physicist and my understanding of Erwin Schrödinger’s experiment could be incorrect but it sure is lots of fun to combine different ideas and see what happens. 🙂

Photo cred: Me

Ambiguities

The next couple of posts will include quotes from Mister Rogers (Fred Rogers).

The world would be a better place if we all were a little more kind, just as he was.

I’ve often hesitated in beginning a project because I’ve thought, “It’ll never turn out to be even remotely like the good idea I have as I start.” I could just “feel” how good it could be. But I decided that, for the present, I would create the best way I know how and accept the ambiguities.

-Fred Rogers

There will always be ambiguities. Your best work is created by improving the “best way you know” and continuing to create things that are meaningful to you.

-This is an excerpt from the book The World According to Mister Rogers.

Solvay Conference

In 1927, a small group of Physicists and Chemists were invited to Brussels to discuss larger problems in both physics and chemistry. The first conference was held in 1911 and scientists attended by invitation only.

I was not aware of this conference until a few years ago but it has been on the top of my mind ever since. One interesting perspective about those who attended (made by Seth Godin) is that people weren’t invited because they won’t a Nobel Prize – no, people won a Nobel Prize because they were invited (attended).

Within most Pharmacy conferences, you sit and listen to a speaker. Occasionally, there is interactive learning but often this is limited to pressing a button to answer a question, disguised as interactive learning. There isn’t a framework similar to Solvay currently.

A significant gap is finding a place to work on the big problems, to brainstorm and test. While there may not be a Nobel Prize at the end, you just might be able to improve healthcare along the way.

Photo by Aubrey Rose Odom on Unsplash

Cooks in the Kitchen

In any collaborative effort, there is a chance that several people want to lead. The important part is identifying a leader and creating a team who will work together.

The challenge is when different groups do not want the same leader and communication is stifled as a positioning tactic to gain authority. You can navigate this by listening to the group, making sure everyone is heard, and ultimately making a decision with the best intentions for the collaboration in mind.

In the end, some people might not be happy and if you have done your due diligence as the leader, accepted mistakes, you can rest easy knowing you did your part.

Smart Recombinations

From a 2010 HBR article, The Four Phases of Design Thinking, you are introduced to the idea of “smart recombinations” and the work of John Thackara (In The Bubble and others).

The idea of combining unseen concepts (or groups) is very interesting. For example, you could combine difference disciplines at a health care conference:

  • Pharmacy and Social Work
  • Nursing and Occupational Therapy

You can also combine different learning methods and types.

What combination of didactic, interactive, and peer to peer learning can you create?

What combination of visual, auditory, and hands on learning can you incorporate?

The challenge is taking the time to look – but when we do, lots of unique combinations show up.

Happy Combining!

Interesting Questions

A recent and favorite purchase has been a book by Warren Berger, called The Book of Beautiful Questions.

It is broken up into five parts:

  1. Decision-making
  2. Creativity
  3. Connecting with Others
  4. Leadership
  5. The Inquiring Life

There are too many questions to list here but I’ll write a separate post soon with my favorite (new) questions.

A gem to take from the book so far is a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert, who says to stop telling people to find their passion. Many people do not not know what it is and it can create unneeded pressure and anxiety. Gilbert suggests advising people to “follow your curiosity” – which may lead to a passion.

Have a curious day and keep asking questions.

Photo by Stanislav Kondratiev on Unsplash

Critical Thinking

If I had a nickel for every time a co-worker has said “where was the critical thinking” I could buy a lot of things at the dollar store. 🙂

Joking aside, this is one of the most common (and recurring) themes of feedback I hear about our colleagues in healthcare.

Unfortunately, the type of education and teaching we provide often reenforces this lack of thinking. While there are organizations (think “bigger”) with more technology and virtual learning spaces, the vast majority of healthcare facilities cannot afford this type of resource.

The alternative is to be creative and create learning that will test critical thinking. Learning that empowers Nurses to make decisions and see what happens next, with the safety of being wrong. Learning that allows Pharmacists to see the whole picture and think quickly to solve a problem.

You all have the ability to build this type of education. Our workforce will be better for it.

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

“But my doctor ordered it.”

Please enjoy a brief digression from the usual focus on learning. This is a great anecdote and illustrates some of the confusion in our current healthcare system.


The healthcare system is like a giant jigsaw puzzle and it can be very confusing to put all the pieces together.

A friend was talking about prescription insurance challenges she is engaged in when working in a community pharmacy. Occasionally, a patient is unable to get a medication because the insurance does not cover it. The misperception is that Pharmacists in the community are the cause of this limitation in access – this denial of something that can be of great importance to us as a medication.

However, Pharmacists are in the middle…of a few systems. They get the prescription from the doctor – but – that does not mean the insurance will cover it. That medication claim is submitted to the insurance and the insurance decides if they will cover it. This second interaction is with the insurance. The last is with the customer and if the medication is not covered, it’s the pharmacist or pharmacy technician who tells the customer the insurance is not paying for it. It’s a frustrating place to be, on both sides.

The (very) basic process is:

Doctor/APRN/PA -> sends prescription to pharmacy -> pharmacy submits to insurance

From there, the insurance accepts or denies the claim, based on a pre-approved list of medications, called a formulary.

Some doctor’s offices have begun to get realtime coverage of medications, which helps to reduce the risk of a medication not being covered but the majority do not use this technology yet.

From a patient’s perspective, there are important questions you can ask. Setting aside questions related to interactions and side effects with new medications, one question is “will the insurance cover this medication?” If not, the doctor will find an alternative. Better to figure this out earlier and save yourself frustration later on.

Repetition

98,000 scripts a year.

That’s a rough estimate for how many prescriptions a community pharmacist checks in a “busy” store.

400 scripts a day; 2,000 a week; 98K a year (with vacations).

How many heart rates and blood pressures does a Nurse check in a day?

We are good at something because of experience and innate talent.

We are great at something because we practice.

Photo by Leslie Reagan Bodin on Unsplash