Over the years, one of my favorite things to do has been to work with / speak to / address college students. They are young, aren’t yet set in their ways, still hope to save the world, are naive to the “follow the money” aspects of healthcare and, honestly, it’s just plain fun.
Last week I had the privilege of participating in an ethics debate for a well-known and respected university in a course called Controversies in Healthcare (medical, legal, and bio ethics), to a combination group of law students and medical students, on the topic of independent advocacy – vs – hospital advocacy. My co-debater was the Director of Ombudsman at a very well-known and respected hospital system.
The idea, since it was a “controversies” class, was that we were supposed to argue that our own solutions were the better solutions, and that the opposing solution was not a good choice.
Last week, I received an email from a woman, I’ll call her Miranda, taking me to task for an article I had written that she found online. If Miranda had her way, I’d be walking the plank about now, or on my way to life in prison.
The article she found is about patient modesty and how it affects one’s ability to get medical care. It poses the problem, considers the roots of the situation, then offers ideas to help someone get beyond modesty hurdles in order to benefit from better medical care.
Oh, but Miranda was not happy about that article! She graced my email inbox with a missive (out of curiosity I pasted it into a word document to see how many printed pages it would be – about 5!), as if she was the prosecutor outlining all the reasons I should get life in prison, taking me to task because I had not taken into account survivors of sexual abuse. Further, the fact that I used a car as a metaphor offended her because people aren’t cars! (She’s right. They aren’t. I didn’t say they were. I used cars as a metaphor.) She expected me to rewrite and republish the article, and she wanted a “public apology” for being so callous and ignoring the plight of sexual abuse survivors.
While many independent advocates and care managers spent their holiday time either celebrating, spending time with their families, and/or putting out fires for clients… I’ve been right here at my desk during the holidays, preparing for THE LAUNCH.
It’s been SUCH a long time coming…many years, really. Certainly not because the will wasn’t there, nor because the technology wasn’t available.
I plead only the lack of enough hours in my days along with a few conflicting priorities (like completing the launch of patient advocate certification, and rebuilding the AdvoConnection profiles site, and moving 1200 miles!) Those aren’t excuses. They were realities.
But now these new efforts have (finally!) moved to the TOP of my to-do list… all to the benefit of advocates and care managers who want to improve their knowledge and skills in the many areas of building successful practices…
So what required so much effort?
Honestly, I’m tired of the argument.
I live and work in Florida where you would think it was some sort of national disgrace to wish someone “Happy Holidays”. As if somehow the failure to wish a “Merry Christmas” has been co-opted by political correctness as a personal insult to them.
In my (not so) humble opinion, it has gotten worse in the last couple of years. I chalk that up to the facts that (1) I didn’t live in Florida until about two years ago (and therefore heard far less vitriol than seems to be standard fare here) and (2) that we now live in a society where too many of our political leaders are focused solely on improving their own lives, incomes, and status, and not those of their constituents, as in, “It’s all about me!”
I’m just sick of it! Here’s why:
In an email conversation with one of our APHA mentors last week, a point that is so often lacking in the understanding of an independent advocacy practice was made: That it usually takes 3 to 5 years to know if someone will be a successful business owner, advocacy included.
That so many advocates quit before they get there, never giving themselves a chance, really. They start out thinking it will be easy because, afterall, many been advocates for decades in previous careers… just a simple switch to self-employment, right?
When they finally understand that the first few years are more about business than advocacy, it’s a rude awakening. When that lightbulb goes off, when they begin to understand it’s about running a business, they begin to panic. That’s when I hear:
But I’ve never done this before!