Several years ago while training a group of doctors on the hospital’s new EHR, I had the fortune (or misfortune?) of training two equally unexcited senior physicians. Both were seated in the first row, one to my right (I’ll call “Dr. Right”), and the other to my left (“Dr. Left”). Not even in class for 20 minutes, Dr. Left was becoming visually agitated, squirming in his seat and frowning, then starting to click his tongue and grunt, and finally speaking out with ‘wordsIcan’trememberbutweren’tnice’. Everyone in the room was quite uncomfortable, especially me! Having had enough, Dr. Right looked at him and blurted out, “SUCK IT UP”. Dead silence – except from me, of course, I was the trainer.
Not the perfect example of respect, but, deferring to Dr. Right, Dr. Left was obliging for the rest of the class. Whether embarking on an implementation or heading up a new project, choosing physician champions that are well- respected by their colleagues will certainly help ensure a successful undertaking. Respect is hard earned with physicians – it’s no small feat to become a physician and that in itself deserves a certain respect. The physician champions don’t need to be liked (although that doesn’t hurt) but they need to be listened to and followed. They have to have proven their worth through exemplary work, recognition, and achievements. These highly regarded doctors also exhibit integrity, willingly carry responsibility and respect themselves as well as others.
While respect is the only value discussed here, there are, of course, many other fine virtues worthwhile to the physician champion. However, the respected physician champion will help quench the fires of discontent, control the curmudgeons, and re-direct any physician specialists who think their particular specialty is the only one essential for proper human functioning.