Critical Reminders from Day 1

Reflecting on our first day of the Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety and I am feeling blessed for the insights, the lessons and for the reminders.

Yesterday morning we watched the Lewis Blackman Story – we were fortunate to have Helen Haskell with us, Lewis’ mother, who graciously and bravely answered our questions, provided more insights and shared the reminder that this November marks the fifteen-year anniversary of the death of Lewis.

I’ve seen this video more than a few times and to be honest was thinking to myself that there was not much more to “learn”. How wrong was I?

Re-watching this emotional story I was abruptly reminded that the stories of communication failure, mis-diagnosis and poor communication are as real and relevant today as they were fifteen years ago, and that being reminded of the work ahead is critical to this effort of making patient care safer, more just, and more transparent.

I watched the video again, took new notes, re-read those notes, and listened to the story and the discussion. I heard things I hadn’t heard before, heard perspectives that I hadn’t paid attention to in the past, learned new lessons, and was left with a re-galvanized commitment to this difficult, rewarding, and necessary work.

In the work that I do with healthcare leaders to change culture, I hear and see a lot of conversations, interactions and exchanges. Having the ability to reflect on what I have heard or seen, either from reading my own notes, re-remembering my experiences, or having the story interpreted by someone with a different perspective, provides me renewed energy, fresh insights and ideas about alternate solutions.

Day 1 reminded me that re-visiting the stories, notes, videos, conversations and perspectives are some of the most powerful reminders of the work still ahead to change the world of patient safety.

Thank you Helen for the reminder.

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