Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D. Blog

Thoughts and ideas on healthcare

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I'm Susan E. Mazer -- a knowledge expert and thought leader on how the environment of care impacts the patient experience. Topics I write about include safety, satisfaction, hospital noise, nursing, care at the bedside, and much more. Subscribe below to get email notices so you won't miss any great content.

It’s About Time

March 16, 2010

Research, science, and pursuit of new knowledge is ever present for me. When I was in the 7th grade, I joined a nuclear science club and went to the Fermi Institute in Ohio.

I was really into Einstein, who he was and how amazing he was to think up the theory of relativity. I remember vividly how much sense it made to me that if you take a sheet of paper and weigh it, then tear it in two, the weight of the two parts will be less that the weight of the whole.

“That difference is energy,” so the science teacher said. It made sense to me. And, today, I wonder about the “whole” being more than the separated parts.

The U.S. is in the midst of a values-crisis that looks like an economic crisis. Having been to India, Nepal, and Myanmar, it is difficult to take seriously the claim that there is not enough money in this vast and rich nation to take care of our own. I see veterans homeless, kids on the streets because of foreclosures, houses empty that would do better occupied.

This cannot be about money — in Nepal, it is about being undeveloped, about lack of roads, phones, infrastructure. But, in America?

We have gone through periods of unemployment — recessions are cyclical. This time is like the industrial revolution when the printing press made caligraphers grasp for their jobs.

Later, when blacksmiths had to learn how to repair cars and music copyists had to get a handle on the software that made it possible to not just copy, but to transpose, orchestrate, create whole scores. We have gone through this before.

This time, however, all I hear about is money or lack of it.

Then, when I look at the research about nature and music — about how, to the patient, a nurse’s kindness does more than her efficiency; about how due consideration and respect for the process of healing is not a budget item, I know it is not about money.

We are in the middle of a values crisis that is forcing us to prioritize what matters. I think it is about time.

What do you think?

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