|Mark Bittle, DrPH, MBA, FACHE|
|A Word From Our Faculty Liaison|
This is a time of great uncertainty in the health care field. During
times such as this, I find it helpful to take stock of who we are
and what we have accomplished together.
Reminding ourselves of who we are and what we have accomplished is a
source of strength and resilience. It reinforces our values, those
principles that help us define what is most important. During times of
uncertainty, in my experience, it is important to hold a steady course, relying
on our principles to maintain direction and evaluate the countless, often
conflicting, pieces of information encountered daily.
I read recently where the millennial generation, those aged 22-early
30s, is the most digitally fluent, and socially connected generation.
According to The Advisory Board, in terms of healthcare, this generation is the
most “likely to read reviews, compare prices to find providers offering the
most convenience for the lowest price.” They are cost conscious, option seekers
(i.e. least loyal), most likely to search for a provider online versus a
referral, least concerned about travel when quality is concerned, and ready for
virtual care. With regards to education, this generation “prefers intrapersonal
and independent learning over group work, and they like their learning to be
practical and hands-on and want their professors to help them engage with and
apply the content rather than simply share what they could otherwise find on
their own online.” (Seemiller 2016)
I recall an article in JAMA from former CMS
Administrator Don Berwick that this generation of physicians is “the most
challenged by moral choices in perhaps a century.” He goes on to point out that
health care is an exercise in interdependency, not personal heroism. Physicians
simply cannot do the right job alone… and there is a greater need for teamwork,
generosity, and deference. That greater need demands that the question, “What
am I part of?” should supersede prerogative. It counsels a continual inquiry:
Who depends on me? And how am I doing in their eyes?
As healthcare educators, our role is to continually
adapt curricula and teaching methods to meet the needs of our students and reflect the needs of the
healthcare industry we support. As we consider the future, health care program
faculty and administration have an obligation to help define the future, not
merely react to it.
So as we in healthcare education seek to blend the
realities of practice with evidence derived from academic research, we should
be asking ourselves the same questions posited by Dr. Berwick…Who depends on
us? And how are we doing in their eyes?