One of challenges, and frankly, frustrations, of what we do at ClickCare is communicating the value of collaboration. The rewards (both emotional and tangible) to providers, patients, and institutions, are profound and meaningful. But to the uninitiated, healthcare collaboration can seem idealistic and impractical.
Collaboration is given lip service (Chronic Care Management CPT code XXXXX) but not truly cultivated or supported. It is not taught in medical schools, as there is such a competition for time in a curriculum. It seems to be taught better in nursing schools, but the experienced nurses are known for “eating their own”. Pharmacy schools rarely produce graduates with a true intent on fitting into a team, and when they do, it's despite their training, not because of it.
Because of this conventional bias against healthcare collaboration, it takes true leaders (whether those leaders are aides or specialists or nurses or patients) to foment it. True leadership doesn't have to be sanctioned by an institution or lauded in a newspaper -- sometimes it's just simple acts of asking a question of a colleague or taking a moment to try something new. But true leadership does tend to take courage -- and it can give us courage to see other leaders, acting bravely.
So, when I find an example of leadership, I feel it should be acknowledged, celebrated, and learned from -- even if from an unlikely source.
I'll be honest -- I wasn't planning to wake up early to watch the royal wedding. Like many Americans, I often feel conflicted about the Royals -- and (not being very interested in fashion) wouldn't expect to find much of significance in such a seemingly frivolous event.
But I ended up watching it from start to finish, finding myself drawn into the tradition, the ceremony, and the powerful lessons of both collaboration and leadership that made themselves known in subtle, but deeply significant, ways.
A few leadership and healthcare collaboration lessons I learned from watching the royal wedding:
- Lead by inclusion and by example.
The bride and groom chose to include an American Episcopalian pastor in the African American tradition to give a sermon, something that had never been done before. They included an African American choir singing Stand By Me and Amen, Amen alongside the traditional songs. Instead of demurely hiding Meghan's African American heritage, they wove it artfully into the ceremony. And although surely not all of the tradition-bound attendees were fully supportive, the bride and groom were grounded and joyful throughout the event, not scurrying around for approval, but standing firm in the choices they made to honor tradition, honor both of their heritages, and perhaps bring the monarchy into a new age. This seemed to me an example of the best kind of leadership by example, not by rhetoric or coercion.
- Don't be afraid of the big issues.
By acknowledging Meghan's heritage and country of origin throughout the event, the royal couple certainly took on the "elephant in the room," which could be an element of contention for such a tradition-bound event and context. Similarly, the beautiful sermon by Bishop Michael Curry made unflinching reference to the history of race relations in the US, including the Civil Rights Movement and slavery. Throughout, there was a willingness to take on what might be considered "difficult" or fraught topics, but to do so in elevated, inclusive ways.
- Remember that nothing big happens without collaboration.
Yes, Saturday's event was a wedding. But it was also a massive event involving thousands of people, viewed by millions, and costing close to $50 million. It's staggering to imagine the massive collaboration that must have been needed -- to have each person contribute and be truly honored as important, but also have their contribution blended to become the whole. From the Kensington gardener who nurtured the flowers that Harry chose for Meghan's bouquet, to each musician that shared their song, to the members of their families, to the bride and groom themselves. Just the existence of such a scale of event is testament to the power of collaboration.
- Love is all you need.
It seems sentimental and perhaps even unprofessional to speak of love in a blog post for a telemedicine company. But Bishop Curry's sermon reminded us of the transformative power of love in the creation or recreation of a culture, society, and world. He reminded us, as the royal wedding did, that love can be a catalyst for profound change and the driver of things that would be unimaginable without love's transformative power. Maybe in medicine we should talk more about love. And leave the medical jargon behind.
Will this event actually be remembered and change something, as the new couple wishes? Maybe or maybe not. But I do believe that in its example, this event gave us a shining example of a way forward. We need to respect each other; we need to find a greater cause in our duty; we need to compromise; and we need to be steadfast in our choices.
Many felt joy in watching the royal wedding on Saturday. And I believe that joy is something each of us can access daily (even hourly) in our everyday choices about leadership and about collaboration.