There's one thing that should be made mandatory in the NHS nowadays. A week doing another persons job. At every level. Especially when they have a opinion about how other people should work. The NHS is rampant with leaders now and the problem with that is that somehow it installs in these folks an ingrained thought process as to how another specialty or another profession should run.
To be honest, I have no issues with that IF there is experience of working with that team, shadowing the team, trying to understand the team, the pressures...but nope, there is indeed little of that. Forget about doctors giving advise to nurses how to run wards (and heck, there's plenty of that) but it's between doctors themselves. And if I am brutally honest, I have gone down that road too in the past. Flush with a new title and the love of being given a management role, I have advised others how to do their job- without getting to grips first as to how their daily lives are.
But it pains me no end to see everyday, everybody having an opinion about something they have no experience on. Overheard this conversation at a national meeting..a respiratory colleague says that if the cardiologists did less private work, they would find time to do general medicine. How does he/ she know that? Has he/she seen their job plans? No of course not. But surely the prototype of a cardiologist swanning off to do private work was correct,right? Well not really, as it turns out some of the interventional cardiologists do a 1:4 back breaking rota, up most of the night. When another pointed this out gently, response was illegible but they swiftly moved on to how lazy the other physicians were. Dude...just do your own work, ok? See how you can help your own department or heck, here's a suggestion, go and shadow your cardiology colleague for a week. Why assume there is no greater dedicated soul than yourselves?
The trend continues...the culture of ward rounds reinforces that...the sneering comment from the Consultant about one of their fellow specialists or a disparaging remark about a GP..still far too common place. juniors walk away inculcated in the tribe mentality...the machismo of one specialty trying to out-testosterone another. And it happens everywhere...GPs are as much to blame with the old stereotype jokes of Consultants and their fancy cars, the golf courses...you wonder why we are a divided group of folks...heck we have no respect of each other, let alone anyone else. What chance does a nurse or a manager stand?
So here's a suggestion to all the leadership quangoes...try and see whether the best experience possible for doctors is to shadow each other's colleagues. Ideally we want them to do the same with nurses and managers so they appreciate their pressures too...but let's not make that big a leap of faith. Trying to get doctors to change their ways is notoriously difficult so let's try something simple...a GP shadowing a Consultant and vice versa, A cardiologist shadowing a Diabetologist, a vascular surgeon shadowing an orthopaedic one...maybe and just maybe we may all develop a little bit more respect for each other, understand that there are patients out there who exist beyond your own specialty and need the expertise of your colleague too. Once we learn to respect and value each other's work..perhaps on the off chance, we could extend that learning and understanding to nurse colleagues, pharmacists, managers, finance folks...all of whom we have a disparaging and disrespectful comment for..of course, it's only banter,isn't it?
Go and develop that..heck..even make up a hashtag for that..seems to work for most things..how about #Walkonthewildside or #Wows. Go on, you can have it for free.