Rennie and I just returned from a visit to the International Masters in Health Leadership (IMHL) program at McGill, where we did a presentation on many of the themes of this blog. One of the participants said something that struck me about the potential of expressive change taking root in hospital settings. He said that it seems the closer you are to the patient’s bedside, the more autonomy you have and the more you are able to live out the deep values of healing and caregiving. The further out you go, the more instrumental you become.
So if this is true, perhaps a practice that would help nurture expressive change in a hospital setting would be to have as many people engaging with patients as possible, not just the nurses, doctors and aides. How might the accountants, janitors and administrators spend more meaningful time with patients? How might doing this heighten their ability to participate in and receive the gifts the hospital has to offer? And what if we thought more creatively about how to increase the time that doctors and patients spend together. The bedside time seems to be dwindling due to cost-cutting measures, but maybe we can re-think hospital spaces and rhythms in a way that allows doctors to interact informally with patients who are not in their direct care.