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In praise of pit crews

Dr. Atul GawandeMay 26, 2011 -- Today I watched one of my heroes, Atul Gawande, speak at Harvard Medical School's commencement. He talked about needed changes in the culture of healthcare providers, usually meaning doctors (he is one). He said that what winning race teams need -- even more than daring drivers -- is well-trained, well-coordinated pit crews.

Why am I doing this?

Why am I doing this?  Why start a company, take responsibility for other people's jobs and pay and investors' money, design a product that has no guarantee of success, risk failure?

Why not go back to bedside nursing, collect a steady paycheck, and be done with my work when I go home?

Let's stop eating our young!

People are amazed when I tell them that -- despite nursing's aura of high tech -- for on-the-job data tracking, nurses rely on a mere piece of paper.

They call this piece of paper their "brain". Each nurse invents her own format (see examples in our brain museum).

Sharing of best practices is rare. Time and information management techniques are not taught nor even mentioned in nursing schools.

Seeing nursing with a computer programmer's eyes

In my previous career I was a computer programmer. As an RN, I returned to that technology for help with information-related tasks of nursing. Nurses must carry so many details in their heads as they do their work. This makes it more stressful and error-prone than it needs to be. Why not get some help from technology?

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