New Home Forums Monthly Challenges November 2017 I've Got This! Operation Healthcaring 750Words

74 replies, 10 voices Last updated by  Laura Koller 5 years, 12 months ago
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    Well done @laurakoller That’s a good amount of writing.


    Laura Koller

    @mars – Thanks. Fortunately my life generates lots of material. Unfortunately I still have to deal with all that material, even after writing about it extensively ūüėČ


    Laura Koller

    I finished my writing for today! ¬†1316 words of it. ¬†I made a positive breakthrough, too. ¬†Here’s the summary link. ¬†For anyone interested, here’s the writing itself:


    So late for writing tonight! Full hockey weekend, a sleepover, worn out mom, thinking about writing all day and knowing what I want to write about. Just waiting for a quiet moment to myself, uninterrupted, to sit down and do it. Thankfully, that moment came before midnight! The streak continues…

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the tagline for my site. Currently the Operation Healthcaring tagline is “Transforming the Hearts of Healthcare Professionals”. While I think that’s a great start and it took me a lot of thinking to get there, it also feels incomplete. It’s not enough to transform the hearts of healthcare professionals. That’s a good start, to have people see the world in a new way and feel things differently than they ever did before. That being said, new sight and emotions doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t change ACTIONS. We’re talking about healthcare professionals here. It’s totally possible to feel things more deeply and see the problems, and still not do anything differently than we did before – other than maybe just feel worse because we see what we’re doing and we know it’s not working and there’s a gap between where we are right now and where we want to be. There’s a gap between the practice we are currently engaged in and the practice we would like to create. So somewhere between changing hearts and changing healthcare, there is a missing crucial step. It has to do with taking action, trying something different, and daring to step out on a ledge when that’s not the comfortable and usual thing. I mean, comfortable and usual may not be working, but it takes a lot of courage to step out on that ledge and do something out of the ordinary. But that’s the only thing that will actually bridge that gap.

    So what am I going to say, for the tagline? “Transforming the Hearts and ACTIONS of Healthcare Professionals” – that captures the idea but hearts is so visual and tactile in comparison to Actions, which is so general and theoretical. So I’m looking for something that can mirror “hearts” as the first transformation. So what other words and/or ideas can fit into that other spot? I do like the idea of “Transforming the Hearts and PRACTICES of Healthcare Professionals.” That’s kind of fitting in a few ways, since healthcare professionals “practice” in their professional “practices” and this whole building new habits and behaviors thing is going to require a lot of “practice.” So I like it, but it still doesn’t capture the sentiment in that tactile and concrete way that I want. What are some other possible words? “Hearts and Heads” or “Hearts and Minds” or “Hearts and Habits” or “Hearts and Behaviors.” All are approaching the idea, once again, but missing the boat because it doesn’t capture the idea or it doesn’t capture the idea in a concrete and tactile way.

    So how about this one (I swear I had it and then it slipped out of my head. I’m going to have to stop here, in the midst of my 750 words for the day, so I can remember that brilliant idea – ARGH!) Ah! There it is. I was listening to a chapter from Peter Bregman’s “Four Seconds” and in this chapter one of the executives the author is working with, one who has been demanding of his employees to the extent of requiring an employee to come to the team meeting ON HER WEDDING DAY because that’s the day it was scheduled and because she would still have enough time to get to the wedding on time and that’s the way he expects his employees to show their dedication to the team – this executive asks Bregman how he can change the way he does business.

    How does Peter Bregman answer this man? Rather than laying out a whole foundation of behaviors and action plans and everything else, Bregman asks this manager to change only ONE thing.

    “Change your stories,” he says. And that’s the word that I’m going to plant into that empty spot in my tagline – STORIES. The idea is that if you change the stories that you tell others, the ones that embody you and your practice and the ones that you tell about your employees and the things that they do well, that is the first step towards changing your behaviors. So instead of telling the story about the employee who came to the company meeting on her wedding day (which is likely a story told by all employees as well as the bride, her family and friends, etc.), he can tell the story about telling that same employee to take off the whole week of her wedding. At first, there will be a mismatch between the stories and what is actually going on in the company, but that dissonance will be the thing that catalyzes change in the executive and in the organization. When the executive changes his stories, then the stories will change.

    Operation Healthcaring: Transforming the Hearts and STORIES of Healthcare Professionals

    Personally, I love the word “STORIES” and I think it delivers on many different fronts. What stories are being transformed?

    First, the stories I tell myself in my head will change: the story that I’m effective enough the way I am, the story that I’m supposed to have all the right answers, the story that it’s not worthwhile or possible to change my views.

    After the stories in my head change, then the stories I tell myself about my patients will change: the story that some patients are “noncompliant” and therefore there’s nothing I can do to change their behavior, the story that some patients are not willing or capable of behaving in a new way, the story that my goals are the same ones my patients want to achieve.

    After the stories I tell myself about my patients change, the stories I tell myself about how I interact and engage with patients will change: the story that giving handouts is the same thing as teaching patients, the story that shaming patients is an appropriate way to promote change, the story that the more I talk the more I am helping others.

    After the stories I tell myself about how I interact and engage with patients change, then the stories I tell my patients will change: the story that only some patients are capable of change, the story that behavior change is a one-time instantaneous event, the story that changing a behavior is possible if only a person tries hard enough.

    After the stories I tell my patients change, then the stories my patients share with me will change: the story that they took all their pills as prescribed, the story that they didn’t encounter any problems, the story that they can’t tell me what’s really going on.

    After the stories my patients share with me change, then the stories I share with others will change: the story that I don’t have the time to listen to my patients, the story that “It’s not my job” to do something outside my immediate job description, the story that I actually have to “fix” something in order to make a difference in someone else’s life.

    After the stories I share with others change, then their stories will change, too. Over and over, these new stories will be shared and they will spread. Eventually, these stories can impact the practice of other healthcare professionals and other patients and other families and other communities and other nations and then – possibly – even the world.

    Every time you tell a story, you have the opportunity to share a vision of hope and possibility for the future. You have the opportunity to open your heart and transform the life of another person.

    OPERATION HEALTHCARING: Transforming the Hearts and Stories of Healthcare Professionals


    Laura Koller

    Today’s stats – 1159 words.

    Nothing really deep today.¬† Some thoughts about yesterday’s writing, thoughts about my next writing topics (transcribing the next excerpt from “Successfully Changing Behaviors” presentation is still a priority), and logistics for the day and week ahead.¬† I was thinking I could take each of the “story” examples from my above writing and flesh it out into a story.¬† So share a story about the patient telling me what’s actually going on and how that changed things for the better.

    I’m going to want to start a blog page at my new site.¬† Not this morning, though.¬† This morning I want to take a shower before I wake boys, pack snacks, move the laundry, unload the dishwasher, and get the boys fed before we have to walk out the door 90 minutes from now.¬† May the force be with me!


    Laura Koller

    I’ve completed my writing for today!¬† More than 1200 words.

    I was inspired by the writing @judyb has shared and her comments about including specific and concrete details.¬† That’s called collaboration, right Judy?¬† Yesterday I spoke on a monthly call for Northeast Dietitians (the call will be repeated on Wednesday) and afterwards one of the dietitians emailed me and asked me in my experience using the Mindset strategy how long it took to actually see results with patients.¬† I realized that when I edited the presentation, I edited out the specific patient example.¬† And because people rely on specific and concrete details – like interactions with patients and specific patient examples – that I need to include specific examples with each of the strategies and talks that I give.¬† I think that was an important realization, soemthing that will only propel my work forward!

    Happy writing, folks ūüôā


    Sara McCann

    Wow @laurakoller! You are going great guns! Writing is definitely ‘your thing’!

    I really enjoyed reading your thought process on changing the tagline for operation healthcaring – it was like being inside your mind, jumping around searching for answers and ways forward. What a beautifully honest and open piece of writing that was! And the conclusion you came to from it is a huge step forward too and I think ‘stories’ is a great additional word to use in your tagline. You are right, it captures the feel and results of what you are wanting to do.

    It also encapsulates beautifully the first piece of writing you shared about taking your pills. That was a story, a personal one, a one we can all learn from and reflect upon. Ultimately, hopefully, changing our own pill taking story because of it. So yes! ‘stories’ is a fantastic addition to your tagline and I think the idea of fleshing it out by writing stories from your patient interaction experiences is a great one.

    Your pill taking story did make me smile. Vitamin D deficiency must be going around! I was recently told I had it, as¬† was my Mum. We are both now taking the same pills. I think it’s a bit easier in the UK with pill taking (to some degree anyway) as when the doctor prescribes, he gives you a slip of paper to take right next door to the chemist. You collect your pills at the same time as seeing the doctor. So they are there, ready…no remembering to go and get them needed. No searching for the right kind, because the slip of paper he gave you to take to the chemist has the exact ones on you need. I put mine by the kettle in the kitchen (because I’m always hanging around the kettle making tea! ūüėÄ ) so I wouldn’t forget. My pill taking gets more tricky though once I’ve ran out of what the doctor has given me. Now I need to source my own and find the time to do it. Now I find myself in the same place as your pill taking story and not taking them anymore! lol

    So it was a real pleasure hearing your experience about the same dilemma. Thank you!


    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide

    You are rocking this challenge Laura. Way to go. Super stoked for all the clarity and momentum that’s coming through as you adopt this daily practice into your life. I will sit with the tagline pondering some more.

    What wilL GRAB healthcare professionals. My feeling is that a tagline like, “Transforming the hearts and actions of healthcare professionals” will actually repel many of them. That is not what they are trained to do. They may get defensive and be like, “I don’t need to transform, etc…”

    You want to create an invitation that draws them in and at the same time, eludes to the transformation.


    Laura Koller

    @saramccann – I’m so glad you saw the connection between the “stories” concept and the writing about my pill problem.¬† That’s exactly the conversation I want to start.¬† The idea is that for us to promote and encourage change in others, we have to live through the experience ourselves.¬† So many of us practice from a space of having the right answers, and not really thinking about the fact that those right answers don’t work for all of our patients and often they don’t work for us either.¬† It’s not about having the right answers.¬† It’s about having a conversation, considering our experience, exploring our options, and then experimenting to see how that changes the equation.¬† This is where I try to practice from – sitting in¬†the truth of being an¬†imperfect human and reaching out to the patient to discover if we can help one another to higher ground.

    @bradleytmorris – I appreciate your input.¬† I’m not completely sold on the tagline and yet I think you underestimate many healthcare providers.¬† I’ve gotten such a warm and positive response from so many people who have participated in my talks, who have appreciated the human element I’ve brought to the conversation.¬† Do you know how many talks I’ve attended in the last few months with facts and graphs and studies and admonitions that our patients are failing and we are failing our patients?¬† Talks that don’t even acknowledge the challenges of persuading people to change their behaviors, the barriers that I face in my clinic every day?¬† It frustrates me to no end!¬† There’s something valuable about learning it’s okay to relate to our patients on an imperfect human level, and it’s okay to ask for small changes and not expect the world to change overnight – or even ever – and to praise patients even when all they’ve done is notice that they didn’t do what they said they were going to do.

    I’m not out to transform everyone.¬† I’m out to find others who, like me, want to provide a more wholehearted and¬†caring experience for patients because it just feels like the right way to do things.¬† There will be people who don’t like what I have to say, who will think it’s too soft and personal, but those people are not my target audience – at least not until I can capture someone they know and transform that person’s¬†heart and practice and demonstrate the value in approaching healthcare from a softer side.

    Talk to¬†a group of nurses¬†(one of my target audiences) and ask them why they decided to become nurses.¬† Many of them will tell you that they wanted to take care of others and make a difference in their lives.¬† Many of them (possibly all) will tell you a story about someone close to them who was diagnosed with some type of illness and inspired them to pursue a career in healthcare.¬† Same thing with teachers and parents (some of my future target audiences).¬† There are people in helping professions for other reasons, but many of the ones that I’ve met¬†have arrived there by following their hearts and listening to stories about how helping professionals can make a real difference in the world, one patient at a time.

    I’m still feeling strongly about the HEART and STORIES part.¬† Not sure if transform is the right word or not, and I think that first word can really electrify the phrase and drive the concept home.¬† Here are some other ideas.

    Transforming the Hearts and Stories of Healthcare Professionals

    Elevating the Hearts and Stories of Healthcare Professionals

    Energizing the Hearts and Stories of Healthcare Professionals

    Validating the Hearts and Stories of Healthcare Professionals

    Enhancing the Hearts and Stories of Healthcare Professionals

    Expanding the Hearts and Stories of Healthcare Professionals

    Affirming the Hearts and Stories of Healthcare Professionals

    Honoring the Hearts and Stories of Healthcare Professionals

    Nurturing the Hearts and Stories of Healthcare Professionals


    I’ll have another go-think and a few drinks and see where things end up ūüėČ


    Judy Brenneman

    @laurakoller Laura, this will be fast because I’m in the midst of conferencing things, but I am trying to respond etc. before I get totally sucked into the chaos of a thousand interpreters networking (they are professional storytellers, so it’s gonna be noisy, I already know that) –

    So – first, makes my heart skip and sing to hear that the reminder about concrete details jogged your writing in good directions. Tangible + intangible/universal = memorable message. Or put another way, facts + emotion = power.

    Second, re: tagline etc. I think the only caution re: “transform” is that it is at risk of being overused (i.e., like “story,” the word is beginning to show up in a lot of new places, which may diminish impact; I’m seeing a similar thing creep into use of “story” but more in cases where the person behind the tagline has no clue what they’re talking about; a similar thing happened with “paradigm” a while back). This may or may not be a problem, but good thing to be aware of.

    In addition–several things surfaced for me as I read your post exploring tagline/what is this business about–I’m tossing them here in very brief form, use or not (ask if you want me to expand on any, and I will do that when I can).

    re: “noncompliant” – I am reminded of Brene Brown’s comment that some people believe (and some don’t) that generally, people are doing the best that they can. (I hate “noncompliant”; I am *doing the best that I can,* and I’m a human being; small changes applied consistently over time is how behavior changes, and mistake are human, not character faults…not that I have strong opinions about that [wry grin]).

    Tagline/purpose/what you’re trying to do via teaching is something about changing intent into action.

    Changing hearts, changing healthcare (you said that in your post; it’s excellent and want to be paid attention to)

    Something about benefit to your students (to them personally) plus the benefit to their clients/patients? i.e., idea of “you’ll benefit this way, they’ll benefit that way, which in turn will benefit you more, too)

    Changing healthcare from the inside out…

    Gotta go – conference stuff about to begin –


    Laura Koller

    @judyb – I appreciate your interjection, especially given that time is short (in the same boat, for entirely different reasons).

    Hearts and stories = not actually congruent ideas

    transform and story = overused

    so, piggybacking off Dina Rose, one of the authors I admire, a sociologist who advocates for improving childhood eating habits (what is a sociologist doing writing about childhood eating? ¬†Helping!!!) ¬†Her tagline is ‚ÄúChanging the Conversation from Nutrition to Habits‚ÄĚ –

    Operation Healthcaring: Changing the Conversations of Healthcare Professionals  

    Bam!  Concrete. Measurable. I think that will do it  I feel really good about that one on many levels!!!

    now off to finish preparing dinner, starting bedtime, and doing all the chores that keep this house above water…


    DavidJ Jurasek


    You are so prodigious! I am in awe and find it hard to keep up with but love it!

    Love the Vit. D. story!

    Love the passion and honesty and true deep inspiration you give me not only because of what you do but how you model being so human about it.

    I joined 750 words today! Wow! Thanks for the tip to check it out!

    As a professional helper I also just think the field and the world needs your voice out there! SO vital and needed!


    Laura Koller

    @davidj РThanks for your feedback.  You inspired my entry today.

    Here’s the stats page.¬† And, for anyone who’s interested (or powerless against the written word, out of curiosity or just plain habit) here’s the actual writing.¬† I definitely need to start a blog page at my site before the end of the month so I can capture some of this writing before it falls into that deep void of written words never to be seen again…


    I checked my email before taking Bella on her walk this morning (I don’t usually do that – clutters the head with all kinds of extraneous matter before I’ve had a chance to clear the existing cobwebs here each morning) and DavidJ said that I was “prodigious” – which was definitely a compliment. I’ve been doing well for this challenge, but then I think there are a few reasons for that, with maybe a couple of those being unfair advantages for me.

    1) I can type 80+words per minute. That means typing 750 words takes me about 10 to 15 minutes. My best time so far is 8 minutes, which means I typed close to 100 words per minute that day as I captured my immediate train of thought. So that gives me a definite advantage over someone who types at only half the speed. On the days when I struggle to start, I tell myself that I can dedicate 10 minutes to the cause. If I typed 30 words per minute and I had to dedicate 30 minutes (on a good day) then it would be a much harder investment.

    2) I’ve been working at this habit for more than a year. If you look at the top of my sharing page and the badges there, you’ll see that I started in June of 2016. You’ll also see that my longest writing streak is 33 days – an accomplishment, yes, but not what I would expect from someone who has been working at this for more than 300 days. If I showed you my stats, you would see that there were months – many of them – when I wrote only a few days. This past summer I struggled to finish a week each month. As I share in my practice, my speaking, my writing, it takes time to build a habit and it can be surprising how long it takes. For most people, it doesn’t take 21 days to build a new habit. It takes an average of 66 days to build a new habit, and often it can take even longer – as much as a year. So compared to someone who is starting where I was last June, I’ve had more opportunities to work at this and fire and wire new pathways in my brain. I’ve had more time to prioritize this habit, and I’ve had more time to highlight the advantages and rewards to myself – clearer head, improved mental health, an outlet for questions and frustrations. I’ve also attached it to another habit I’ve been working on for just about as long, which is taking a walk each morning after I wake up. I’ve actually had a much better success rate with that one – mostly because our family got a dog almost a year ago and the dog looks forward to her walk each morning so it’s hard to get out of it, even now that the backyard is fully fenced. Even so, I’m just now starting to feel that my morning ritual has become nearly automatic: getting out of bed to turn off the alarm clock, walk into the bathroom, and then walk straight out the bedroom door, down the stairs, and into the kitchen where I take out my walking shoes and the dog leash. So I’ve been working at the writing habit for more than a year, I’ve been working at other habits for more than a year, and I’ve been reading extensively on the topic for more than a year so I have a really good understanding about how habits work. All that being said, it’s still been a struggle for me to stick with just these two behaviors: my writing pages and my daily walk. I just have to prioritize it, make the time, and make myself do it.

    3) The last advantage that I’m going to list here is the fact that due to my extensive reading on the topic of building habits and changing behaviors, I’ve learned more about myself and how I work best. A couple of months ago I read a book by Gretchen Rubin called “The Four Tendencies” and in that book she shares a framework for thinking about people’s personalities based on our willingness to meet inner and outer expectations. I learned that I am an Obliger – someone who is really good at meeting outer expectations, often at the expense of my own inner expectations for myself. So it’s more likely that I’ll meet the needs of my family and patients first and put my own needs on the back burner because that is the way that I’m wired. That being said, now that I’ve read the book and had that realization, I’m learning to structure tasks so that I’m better motivated to follow through on them. That’s why I’ve been so consistent with my daily walking habit – I now have a dog who relies on me taking her for a walk, and if I’m not prepared to follow through she’ll whimper and whine and not leave me alone until I provide her with what she wants. Likewise, the GEA challenges have been incredibly reinforcing for me because they provide me with outer accountability – I make a declaration in the monthly campfire, and then I know that I’ve made a “public” commitment and people will be expecting me to follow through with the commitment and even supporting me in doing so. There is no way I would have made as much progress with my website and content and all this other stuff were it not for those monthly challenge campfires. I need accountability. I crave it. In order to be sure that I’ll follow through on something, I need to connect that behavior to something that needs to be done for someone else. That’s just the way it works.

    See? It’s 6:29am and already I’ve reached 1000 words in just over 20 minutes. I found a spot in my day to plant the writing so it becomes a habit (in the morning immediately after I walk the dog), I focus on the benefits and ease of engaging in the behavior (I feel more mentally prepared after clearing my head and I feel happier with my self for following through on my commitment to myself), and I’ve shared my commitment with others so there’s another incentive to follow through on the commitment (I want to look good and I want to set a good example).

    I think it also helps when I can link my passion project to my daily life. That means I can write all about my writing habit and my walking habit and the challenges and joys of working on those habits, and in some way that writing will actually apply to my website and I can count it as “content.” When the information all relates, I can say that I’ve just written content for my site – even though I might have written this otherwise and for a completely different purpose than generating more material. As I’ve been able to demonstrate in my introduction to the “Successfully Changing Behaviors” talk and The Pill Problem writing that I shared with the group, one of my primary ambiitions in creating this site is to share more personal stories and relationships and talk about how the topics we discuss with patients each day actually relate to the behaviros that we perform each day even outside the dialysis clinic.

    That’s why I’m changing the tagline from “Transforming the Hearts and Stories of Healthcare Professionals” to “Changing the Conversations of Healthcare Professionals.” I need to focus on an outcome that’s concrete and measurable. I’m not sure how to measure whether I’ve transformed someone’s heart, but I can hear when I’ve changed the conversations of healthcare professionals. When I’ve done my work, I’ll be able to change the conversations that healthcare professionals have in their own heads, the ones they have out loud with themselves, the ones they have with patients, and the ones they have with other healthcare professionals. I’ll hear people giving less information and sharing more stories. I’ll hear people blaming and shaming less and sharing and confiding their own struggles more. I’ll hear healthcare professionals talking less and listening to and reflecting on their patient’s experiences more. I’ll hear people talking less about outcomes and more about behaviors. I’ll hear people giving fewer comprehensive handouts and more narrow and specific behaviors. I’ll hear people having more conversations with patients about their interests and their families. I’ll hear people have more conversations about effective strategies to use with even the most challenging patients. I’ll hear people believe in their ability to make a difference, even when there may not be any evidence to hope that things may actually change. Patients are going to be able to hear that stuff, too, and that is going to encourage the right thinking and the right behaviors and the right habits as well as a spirit of compassion and forgiveness and nonjudgement. There will be a spirit of presence, mindfulness, paying attention, noticing, exploring, experiencing, and then experimenting with different behaviors and strategies and talking about how things worked and what the next plan of action will be – to continue whatever they started, whether to tweak it a little or a lot, or whether to throw that idea in the bag and start anew with something completely different. Those are the convversations I want to encourage healthcare professionals to have with themselves, with their patients, with their colleagues, with their families, with their communities. It’s a spirit of caring and being and wondering about the world. Curiosity. Creativity. Connection.

    So I think that’s nearly enough for today, except that I’m so close to 1650 words and I know I’ll get an alert when I’ve hit the daily NaNoWriMo goal for writing. I’m there! I did it! Where’s my alert so I can log out and post my writing for today?

    WOOHOO!!! 40 minutes, 1684 words.


    Laura Koller

    I just had to pop over here and share.¬† I just finished the second of two 30-minute webinar calls with company dietitians in the Northeastern US who invited me to speak to the group.¬† It went really well and after Monday’s webinar I added patient examples that really brought the Mindset strategy to life.¬† I was on the call thinking, “This is something that I could do every day, have conversations with healthcare professionals about ways to better connect with patients, respond to emails, and then write more about it.”¬† And every call I get a thank you note from at least one person on the call who tells me that the information is timely and much appreciated, which is such a great reward for the work that I’m doing.

    Love it!

    That being said, I overheard a news story while I was making coffee in the break room this morning.¬† Alex Prud’homme was promoting his new book and he was talking about Julia Child and her rise to fame.¬† He said that she started by writing books, and then¬†after she started her show she became a star “within FOUR YEARS.”¬† Which is pretty amazing, but certainly not the instant success many of us envision.¬† That observation just added fuel to the fire that this journey is not a wild sprint, but rather a patient and deliberate marathon.¬† So much for giving up my day job by January – but then I really like my day job a lot of the time so I’m not too anxious to leave it¬†just yet ūüėČ


    Laura Koller

    Crazy.¬† This whole “greasing the wheels” morning pages thing has got my brain on overdrive today!¬† After leading that webinar this morning, my head has been popcorning ideas all over the place.¬† I have these ideas about how to enhance the area dietitian meetings – I actually made a suggestion last week¬†that our lead dietitian loved so we are going to be sharing our best productivity practices at the next meeting (I even get to compile the powerpoint slides submitted by other RDs).¬† I’m enjoying all of these experiments at my company because I get to learn so much from them (presentations, feedback, struggles, etc.) without the pressure of having to perform at a high level because I’m getting paid.¬† I can use these opportunities to build my confidence and experience so when I finally take the leap into full-time (or maybe even part-time) entrepreneurship, I will be all set to go with many trials and experiments already under my belt.

    I’m having this thought that my speeches and webinars can be like confession halls or AA meetings.¬† You know, when people stand up and share the secret that they’ve been trying to stifle for so long.¬† For any of you who have seen the movie “BAD MOMS” (that was a much-needed catharsis for me this past crazy weekend), I’m envisioning the end scene in the gymnasium when each of the moms stands up and confesses to some type of “evil” sin (i.e. “I don’t even have children and I come to PTA meetings because I’m lonely at home.”)

    Am I allowed to tell you that I used to dress my young children in their next-day clothing instead of pajamas at bedtime, so they were all set to go when they woke up the following morning?  I shared that with my sister and since then she has proudly told me that she does the same thing with her daughter.  Liberating, right?

    Anyway, back to Laura’s healthcare professional confessions:

    “Hi.¬† My name is Laura Koller, and I can’t stand writing monthly notes every month.¬† Last month I didn’t finish half of them until the last possible day, when we were drawing labs for the following month.”

    “Hi.¬† My name is Laura Koller.¬† I feel like I’m supposed to have all the right answers and I’m supposed to know what I’m doing, but the truth is that I have no idea what I’m supposed to say to patients or what strategies I can share with them that can actually have an impact on their results.”

    “Hi.¬† My name is Laura Koller.¬† Every month there’s a new project or initiative, and the truth is that I can’t even manage to stay on top of the workload that’s required already.¬† So many times I merely give lip service to those extra projects so I can put my energy where I really feel that it counts.¬† I don’t feel like the company supports me in fulfilling the core purpose of my practice.”

    After I give a presentation or have a talk with someone I work with, I feel like that person has experienced some sense of relief – like they’ve been doubting themselves or holding something inside and then, when I’ve shared my own observations and experiences, it validates these feelings that they felt were abnormal.¬† So with patients and healthcare professionals alike, it seems like the most important thing that I can do is NORMALIZE their experience and let them know that they’re not alone.

    Do you know the most important predictor of living a long and happy life?¬† It’s not riches, or luck, or even great health, although those can certainly be byproducts of this primary predictor.¬† The most important preditor of living a long and happy and fulfilling life is SOCIAL CONNECTIONS.¬† The more people that you know and maintain close connections and friendships with, the longer your likelihood of living.¬† There’s multiple research studies that support this claim with cold, hard evidence – or shall I say with a warm and caring embrace?

    Combine that reality with our world of smartphones, computers, and video games, and there seems to be a disjoint, a lack of connection.¬† Compare the idea of social connections to what people typically qualify as social connections these days – Facebook friends, social networks,¬†earning the most “likes” – and there’s a total lack of connection between the two.

    And then look at the way we typically provide healthcare.¬† Doctors have patients scheduled in 15-minute increments for several hours straight (I’m not a doctor, but I happened to see my doctor’s daily schedule the last time I was in her office and my jaw literally hit the floor in surprise and outrage).¬† We puncture arms, perform scans, review lab results, and diagnose problems.¬† Where are the PEOPLE in healthcare?¬† Where is the CARING in healthcare?

    So that’s one of the primary goals of Operation Healthcaring: to change the conversations of healthcare professionals.¬† When you sit down in your provider’s office, I want the first glance to be at your face and not your chart.¬† When the provider asks her first question, I want it to be about your family and not your illness.¬† As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”¬† People will tune out what you say until they’ve been reassured that they matter.¬† Similarly, Maya Angelou (oh how I love the work of Maya Angelou) once stated so wisely, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”¬† If we want people to care for their health in the most positive way possible, then shouldn’t we encourage people to feel good while they’re sitting in exam rooms and interacting with their healthcare providers?

    So that’s what I believe we need more of in healthcare – healthcare professionals who can start talking about feelings and emotions and social connections and frustrations and struggles and build a network of support and assistance and caring.¬† We need to think about people first and problems second.¬† We need to think about humanity first and the¬†scientific advances¬†second.¬† We need to think about quality of life first and results second.¬† I’m not saying those other things aren’t important because they are.¬† But those other items are important because of how they fit into the context of people’s lives and not in and of themselves.¬† At the end of the day, building social connections is something that will improve the quality of our interactions, the level of commitment that our patients are willing to dedicate to caring for their health, and ultimately the outcomes that can be realized when we use healthcare as an opportunity to for people to build meaningful relationships with others.


    Laura Koller

    Today’s stats: 2445 words in 40 min

    I spent those words exploring the logistics of my day, the demands on my time, my passion for this work.

    I’m not going to post it here because people like @mars and @bradleytmorris have demonstrated the power of not just creating content, but actually putting it out there and sharing it with the world.

    I haven’t started the blog on my website yet.¬† It’s one of the things that I will launch before the end of this month as part of this challenge.¬† I would like to start publishing content on a consistent basis (maybe every 2 weeks is fair) and I know I’m going to have to let go of my “polished-writing” mindset and just start putting the content out there to attract readers.¬† Essentially, though, while it’s lovely to share this with all of you here and so many of you are sold on my concept and my message – I’m realizing that it’s pretty much meaningless until I can start putting this message out there and get it into the right hands.

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