Walt Disney Hospital

images-12Oh, if only! Right?  I’d definitely apply to work there!  The wage would barely cross my mind because I know it would be researched, fair, balanced and the job would come with unimaginable perks and benefits for me and my family.

The staff would be held accountable for the same level of service throughout the facility.  The management would be incredibly qualified and spectacular.  The workplace would be filled with safety and fun.  The colleagues would be genuine.

I would travel any distance whatsoever to receive medical treatment there.  The cost would not be an issue.  I would save, take a loan, purchase private insurance that only covered WDH inpatient care …whatever it took, I would do it.  Talk about Tourist Healthcare!  I’d be there.

Why?  Because most licensed professionals can do what they’re supposed to (as many amusement parks can provide rides, food, and shows) but only those trained and attuned to the Disney way of service can do it in a group, from CEO to the most menial of tasks, with repetitious precision and caring and flair! throughout the entire experience (as only Disneyland and Disney World can do for theme parks and cruises).

Hospitals are not all fun and games – neither are Disney parks.  Lost, injured children.  Closed rides.  Long lines.  Rain.  Hurricanes.  Sweltering heat.  Personal and personnel issues.  Sick calls.  Bugs.  EXPENSIVE!

But, you won’t catch a single employee complaining to the customers about any of that stuff.  Someone will put on the Micky costume and get to work.  Someone will empty the trash bins.  Someone will operate the rides safely.  Someone will sweep the sidewalks and offer help and directions.  The WDH employees smile, engage, repair, recover and say “Thank You for being OUR Guest!”

Yep.  WDH would be a hospital without a nursing shortage.

………and just think what the Imagineers could do with a Nurses Station!

Creativity & Medical Practice

By creative living I mean not getting killed or annihilated all the time by compliance or by reacting to the world that impinges; I mean seeing everything fresh all the time. I refer to apperception as opposed to perception.

For several years, I’ve been interested in the degree to which the growing bureaucratization and regulation of medical care is impinging on clinical care. My particular interest is in how these changes are squeezing the intrinsic satisfaction out of medical practice for the physician and damaging the interpersonal dimension for both doctors and patients, and less with clinical outcome metrics or monetary or administrative matters, important as these may be.

One can rail against the daily realities of patient contact hours, wRVUs, complexity of care measurements or other forms of ledgering that irritates your nerve endings, though I’d argue that energy invested there is largely wasted. I’d far rather see physicians concentrate on segmenting off some part of their workday activities where they can be creative in the improvement of their work environment or the direct care of their patients.

Most of us started off life as medical students blessed with flexibility and creativity, but the educational processes of student and resident life, and the drive to be compliant and responsible so we can ascend in the hierarchy often leads to these same qualities ending as prunes, not plums.

The quotation highlighted above comes from an essay ‘Living Creatively’ by the English child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, D.W. (Donald) Winnicott written in 1970 and published in a compilation of his work titled ‘Home is Where We Start From’, published by Norton Press.

Note in particular the no-holds-barred language of “killed or annihilated” when it comes to the crushing of creativity by a requirement for compliance or the weight of external forces. Forceful language it may be, and therefore at risk of being dismissed as extreme, but my experience is that it accurately reflects how a number of highly competent and expert physicians feel about their day-to-day work in clinical practice.

What opportunities exist for creativity in our particular workplace is something only we can know. But find them we must if we wish not to feel oppressed and unfulfilled. The well can’t be filled by extracurricular activities alone.

The artist may elect mind-numbing tasks that allow them to think on the job and pay the bills, freeing them up for their art at home, but clinical practice demands considerable time and mental energy even on a slow day. We physicians must find creative outlets within our work environments.

Unlike Winnicott, I’d settle for some of our professional activities being viewable as “fresh”. But those creative elements to our work should reflect back to give greater meaning to who we ourselves are and how we have been shaped by our own life’s experiences, this the ‘apperception” he refers to.

Creativity is for all of us, should be nurtured by teachers, mentors, and colleagues, and viewed as a vaccine against being ground down by the mundane elements of our professional lives.