Upend the Hospital Hierarchy
This structure suggests that each of the branches is equal and illustrates the checks and balances they provide. Their functions are different. How they operate is different. But they are equally necessary to the functioning of the whole government.
In light of that, the current top-down structure of patient care—where power starts with physicians and flows down to nurses—is flawed.
Wouldn't it be nice if hospitals could rethink hierarchies, instead of simply "healing" them? Wouldn't it be nice if hospitals used a circular graph to illustrate the roles of physicians and nurses, showing that both groups are equally responsible and accountable for patient care?
Wouldn't such a change in mentality help squash the notion that nurses can't challenge physicians and instead remind them they can and should challenge them when needed? And wouldn't it remind physicians that nurses aren't being "insubordinate" by doing so?
Adopting such a structure would require a huge shift in mentality; but it wouldn't change physicians' and nurses' roles and responsibilities. It would simply re-affirm the need for checks and balances, and challenge physicians to operate as part of a democracy, not a dictatorship.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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