We invite you to join MACRMI at the 2017 IHI National Forum!
Rana Awdish, MD, is a critical care physician at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. In a New England Journal of Medicine article that got over 100,000 page views, she candidly described how her own near-death experience changed how she thinks about medicine. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) recently spoke with her about the power of storytelling, and how empathy may prevent burnout. Dr. Awdish will be one of the keynote speakers at the 2017 IHI National Forum (December 10–13, 2017). Considering joining your MACRMI colleagues in Orlando this year to see what is sure to be an inspiring presentation from Dr. Awdish. In addition, Pat Folcarelli, Evan Benjamin, Melinda Van Niel and Allen Kachalia will be presenting a workshop on communication and resolution, based on the work being implemented at MACRMI.
What made you decide to describe your experience as a patient publicly? Was it a difficult decision to make?
I realized that as a physician in my own institution I was, at least in theory, an empowered minority. I was someone who had a voice, some measure of authority and personal agency. Yet, as a patient, I didn’t feel at all empowered to be vocal about my needs or fears. I thought about how voiceless you become in many ways just through illness. And, perhaps more importantly, I realized that, if I felt that way, then the experience was far more common than I had understood it to be.
Once I framed it that way for myself, I felt a responsibility to admit the ways in which my own system had in many ways failed me because, if it was failing me, then it was bound to be failing others. What about people who don’t have the medical vocabulary or the foundation of knowledge about what is going on in their body? What about those who don’t know the people in the room or the roles they are meant to play? Medicine is a black box for so many.
We have an obligation to fix this for the people who can’t tell us we need to fix it. Once I felt that responsibility, it led to me writing the piece and, ultimately, to writing a book about my experience. Continue reading here!