Will You Stay With Me?

Cliff Hughes, CEO at New South Wales, Australia Clinical Excellence Commission shared a story Wednesday afternoon that exemplified what patient-centered care is all about. When Cliff’s patient, a 52-year-old truck driver named Neville was not going to live through the night, Neville asked Cliff if he would stay with him. Without hesitation, Cliff agreed and not only stayed to share prayer and poetry, but was also able to reunite Neville with his estranged daughter and 6-week old granddaughter before dying.

Cliff then posed two questions to the student scholars and patient safety leaders in the room.

“Is it unusual for you to cry?”

“Do you forget about the individual in the technology of care?”

“This is the way I want you to treat me, and how I will treat you. It’s no different in Australia than in the United States,” he said.

The final assignment for the day was for students to write down what they will change within themselves in order to deliver this depth of patient-centered care.

As Dave Mayer MD closed the meeting he reminded us of another patient-centered address given by Don Berwick MD to Yale Medical School’s 2010 graduating class. A link to a portion of his speech is found on another Transparent Health post: https://transparenthealth.wordpress.com/2010/07/

What does patient-centered care mean to you? Can you share an example of patient-centered care you delivered or witnessed at your institution?

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2 Responses to Will You Stay With Me?

  1. ALM says:

    What a great presentation by Drs Hughes and Oates. It is great to see the focus on patient safety in other countries and learn their thoughts and methods. It is inspiring to see the ways they have effectively changed the environment in NSW and were able to present a method that has inspired all members of the hospital team.

    I look forward to CEC’s publication highlighting patient-centered care. Dr Hughes’ lecture highlighted some very important aspects of patient-centered care–particularly the breaking down of barriers that may prevent complete care from all members of the health care team. Patient-centered care is just what it says–centered around the patient. The ultimate focus should always be the patient, but we have to remember this is not only in the hospital setting. It is also important once a patient leaves the hospital and in an outpatient setting.

  2. I’m entering clerkships in 10 days, so Cliff’s question, “What will you change within yourself in order to deliver patient-centered care?” is an a question that requires an acute answer. One of the broad lessons I’ve learned from our conversations at Telluride is that every staff member in the hospital has the power to both humiliate and to empower other workers. As medical students, we sometimes (more than sometimes), see ourselves as lowest on the totem pole, within our “tribe” of doctors, but also compared to other health care providers. Nurses, PAs and others seem to know so much more than us, about everything. But knowledge itself is not always power and influence, as a student we can empower others to feel trusted, and to feel that if they voice their concern about patient care to us, we will listen and help. As I start my clinical training, I really want to do my best to empower other staff at the places I work, even if that means just saying, “Hi, I’m Julia, the medical student on Ms. Smith’s team, is there anything about her care that you want her doctor to know?”.

    Thanks for listening, looking forward to our last day here in Telluride. It flies by fast!
    Julia Pederson
    Stanford, MS II
    2011 Telluride Patient Safety Scholar

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