The Real American Carnage
The Real American Carnage

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have no doubt been polarized willingly or not in this new era of politics. You are either a dumb Trump voter or a crazy Hillary freak.

There is no middle ground right now. And there is no room for discussion of anything meaningful.  As long as the insults keep hashing back and forth, we will be perpetually stuck in a scenario where one side wins a battle and crushes the other.  Unfortunately, it means we all lose the war since this is a civil war of sorts.

I thought the use of the term ‘American carnage’ in the President’s inaugural speech was an interesting choice. What does carnage even mean? defines carnage as the slaughter of a great number of people, butchery, massacre. The Cambridge dictionary defines it as the violent killing of large numbers of people.  For comic book readers, you remember carnage as the mortal enemy of Spider-Man and one of his most murderous, brutal and lethal adversaries.

The word seems a bit harsh and dramatic, although I don’t live among the carnage and am not subject to it, I don’t see it.  This experience doesn’t mean it does or doesn’t exist, but it does make it hard to relate to.  Let’s presume the President uses the word carnage figuratively, and whether you agree or disagree, it got me thinking. I am very familiar with and see a lot of “carnage” if you will.  And that is in our healthcare system.

Johns Hopkins released a report in 2016 that stated medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States and is admitted to the hospital is public health hazard #8.  

Johns Hopkins is claiming 250,000 deaths a year are due to medical error.  Think about that number, that’s 689 patients a day, 28 patients an hour.  It’s equivalent to two jumbo fully packed airplanes crashing every single day.  Would you fly if you knew two planes a day would crash?

Whether you see this carnage or experience firsthand with a friend or family member, it’s real.

It’s not safe to be admitted to the hospital, because hospital staff cannot talk to each other. And, then, we cannot communicate well with our patients.  We are polarized at work with us/them mentality, we don’t have time to talk well with pressure to get things done, and we have an increased resistance to any change that is attempted.

I think up to 250,000 deaths a year because healthcare workers can’t talk to each other is the REAL American carnage.  Again, this number is controversial, a lot of critics on this topic, but even if it’s partially true, it’s still scary.  The actual number is irrelevant. Not a single person should die because doctors and nurses can’t talk to each other.

What is relevant is that this is an opportunity to do something about it.  If we get stuck in a scenario where we are slinging mud, then we can’t move to solve the problem.

Nurses are at the heart of any issue that involves patients because we are the number one reason people come to the hospital in the first place.  It should only be reasonable to think that Nurses would be at the heart of any solution.

Enter The NursePreneur Hero

The job of a NursePreneur is to listen to problems and find sustainable solutions.  Listening isn’t easy because you have to listen to what people are saying.  Even when it’s super hard to hear words you don’t agree with.  Listen to your nursing colleagues, your physician colleagues, your nursing administration, and most of all, listen to what the patients are saying.

The ability to change the healthcare system starts with merely listening to the problem.

The funny thing is during this political process, I’ve found that if I can let the person who opposes me to vent and spew off the anger they are feeling, not only does their rhetoric calm down, but often we find that we were thinking along very similar lines the entire time on the issues that actually matter.  It is so hard to listen to things you don’t want to hear, but most of it is exaggerated hype.  If we can get past the hype in politics and the healthcare system, there are some real opportunities to do great things.

When you are ready to make a change and address the real carnage of the American healthcare system, I am here to support you every step of the way!

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