Parent-Teacher….Patient Conference?

Like any parent, I’ve had my fair share of Parent-Teacher Conferences. And the last was no different than all the others. We discussed grades and socialization, and I checked in to make sure that math tutoring really was working.

And, as usual, I could tell that the teacher cared about my child. She picked up on strengths and weaknesses. Mentioned funny anecdotes about class time. Discussed strategies for growth. While she had an agenda of items, she made the conference personal. I knew that she was invested. In her classroom, she had notes pinned up from all of her students. She had a bin of paper and pens for the kids who forgot to bring in their supplies. While school isn’t always fun for a lot of kids, I could tell she was really trying to make the simple room a great place to be.

And when I went home that night, I started thinking about the meeting in a different way.

How does this relate to the facilities I manage? How well did my staff members know our residents? And I mean, really know, beyond their charts and medication lists and the “do this” and “not that”s of healthcare. Did they care, like this teacher did, about personal strengths and weaknesses? Goals and ambitions?

What did I see in this teacher that I realized I needed to see within my staff? What lessons (no pun intended) could she teach my team?

It comes down to values. I’ve written about leading with values before, and teachers put that into practice every single day. They care about their students because they value their growth. They value education. Most importantly, they value the role they play in students’ lives.

And if my staff is going to get to know our residents more personally, beyond their day-to-day checklist, they needed to adopt a teacher mentality. We get so wrapped up in our patient care plans, that we often forget the more personal aspect of care. It can be as simple as bringing up last night’s winner of The Voice or as complex as discussing the history of war. We can set aside time for a “conference” of sorts with our patients’ families. Just like the power of a teacher who truly cares, we are in the position to more deeply support our patients and their families as passionate and invested caregivers.