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Conversations with Ourselves August 29, 2006

Posted by manthey in Creative Health Care Management, Leadership, Nursing Salons.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

When I first posted about the overwhelming response to my blog, I left off the comments emailed me by Gary Saltus, a physician colleague. Gary specializes in helping  groups through transformational change and is working with CHCM create a program to build Physician/Nurse relationships.

It’s a shame I left Gary’s comments out because they are so vital to this discussion.

Here are the highlights of Gary’s email, followed by my original response (again):

I enjoy and appreciate your constant journey of discovering more and more in nursing and health care. I keep coming back to your primary statement of talking to the different people in health care because it’s something you want to do. I imagine this is your purpose in life at this time –your constant search for discovery, wherever it takes you. I imagine this is the lens you use to see the world: How do we do health care better?

I agree with you about the importance of conversation, but I look at it through my lens of transitioning with individuals, teams, groups, and organizations.

The challenge as I see it is to get the people involved to have these conversations with themselves first, to learn who they are and what their purpose/vision is. They need this self-knowledge so they have the self-permission to present who they are to the interpersonal environment (another individual, team, and group) with confidence.

Before the individual, team, group or organization can tackle the difficult and major issues that you present in you blog, they must go through orientation, differentiation with resultant cohesion conversation with each other first. These are the stages of maturation according to John Cater, PhD at the Gestalt Center for Organization & Systems Development. They also must go through these stages in three phases. Assimilation, differentiation, and manipulation. Each phase brings the system closer with the common denominator being trust. This process is how I facilitate working with groups. So the bottom line is we can’t start tackling the big issues until the system has matured. The dilemma is that organizations don’t think they have the time to let the Nurses/Physicians/Administrators do this group work.

I admire your passion and drive to facilitate change in the Nursing/Health Care arena. Our passions are in attunement. Thanks for including me in your thoughts. I look forward to talking to you in the future about our passions and shared visions.

Gary, thanks so much for your thoughtful and insightful comments. I don’t have the grasp on gestalt that you do…but I definitely get the “gist” of what you are saying. I agree that the transformation has to start with the individual, and then move to groups and teams and that the employing institutions do not yet see the benefit of this kind of staff development.

Throughout my career I’ve been fascinated by how attitudes/behaviors of employees change as institutional and leader values change. I’ve seen so many dramatic changes (both positive and negative) in the lives of patients and nurses that I feel compelled to continue working with these issues. The issue of no time to engage in these discussions is really daunting. Also, the separation between professional cultures has erected many barriers to communication I am beginning to see coming down. Another thing that I find very interesting is that the barriers between nurse educators and practice nurses are also beginning to crack. Real light is beginning to shine through. One of the ways I get to see this is thru the monthly Nursing Salons which I have been doing at my home for the past five years. Attendees vary according to the email lists interests in coming on that evening. It is sort of a blend of the Open Space technology and Socrates Cafe conversation format. I have so enjoyed seeing nurse educators and nurse managers, staff nurses, alternative therapy nurses, public health nurses, etc all sitting around talking about some issue or another in nursing. A retired physician comes whenever he can. And you are right…..it really is about improving Health Care.


1. Overwhelming Response « Marie Manthey’s Nursing Salon - September 26, 2007

[…] Note:  When I first posted this, I left off the comments emailed me by Gary Saltus, a physician colleague, which is a shame because they are so vital to this discussion. Read Gary’s comments here. […]

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