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.

This Week’s Healthcare Topic: What’s New is Old

June 20, 2014

NEWS HEADLINESThose who know and love me often point to repetition in my blog posts. I’m proud to say that it’s true.

Because the healthcare topics I write about are far from outdated or resolved. Rather they are pressing enough that I feel if I take a different approach, maybe those who do not yet engage in tackling the issues will become engaged.

Even in my home life, I tend to repeat and repeat because nothing happens. Sound familiar?

Then, there is the reality that there are only so many topics that are interesting. Well, maybe.

Hospital noise, for example, has been a focus for me for more than 20 years. It finally has some teeth because of HCAHPS and value-based purchasing.

But, still, there is a global desire for the magic bullet of quiet. A fixed solution that once mastered, removes the problem forever and a day.  This exists in fantasy only and fantasies of silence are often more frightening than they are worth.

Patient safety is another interesting healthcare topic. Again, still marginalized as if some patient issues skip the concern for safety. So, I continue to write and talk about it.

And now the patient experience is at the top of the list. However, I see a craving for a menu of items and events that create the perfect patient experience — ones that can be dealt with one at a time as if they do not inform each other or at least can move the HCAHPS dial on their own.

The experiences any of us have are like stews well cooked over many hours. Every little thing counts, but is so enmeshed into the wholeness of it all that we can only identify the chili in the soup because it is hot enough to cover up everything else.

So, this week, I am writing about how we each continue to repeat the same Google searches, meeting topics, newsletter themes over and over — because few issues get permanently resolved or are out of date. After all, my Patroness Saint, Florence Nightingale, wrote Notes on Nursing 155 years ago, and she could write it again, and again, and again.

Human issues never go out of date.  They are spoken of, written about, sung and rapped about, and studied over and over.  And, repetition is part of our collective chant; it is the drone of stability.

We crave the familiar as we explore the unfamiliar.   This is not to say that everything repeated is a good idea; but a good idea, repeated, remains a good idea.

Expect that somewhere down the line, I will touch on this topic again. Because once is just not enough.

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