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Patient Advocates and The Kindergarten Principles
You may remember Robert Fulghum’s book, published in the 1980s, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten… The book is a group of essays focused on the wisdom that helps us lead a good life – basic tenets including sharing, being kind to one another, cleaning up after ourselves and living a balanced life. The book and its basics have come to mind so many times in recent months during exchanges with some of the patient advocates who have reached out to me. Their outreach, a mix of questions, complaints, reports and misinformation, leaves me scratching my head and wondering what I can do to remedy such dissension. I raise this topic today because some of these behaviors need to be nipped in the bud. Further, if you ever experience these behaviors, you can point the perpetrator to this post without saying another word. If I sound like I’m scolding, well, perhaps I am. But I’m not one to scold unless a behavior is having a negative influence on our profession – and you know what? These behaviors really are. And we need to stop them. The Behaviors The behaviors I’m talking about are those where one advocate (or wannabe, soon-to-be advocate) is disdainful of any other. Her behavior is easily identified as disdain, but in several different forms. (Yes, sadly, I say “her” because I never witnessed these behaviors from male advocates.) Here are some of the ways I have been exposed to that disdain just in the past few months. No names, of course, but I know some of you will see yourselves and if you do – PLEASE STOP IMMEDIATELY – and begin to embrace The Advocates Kindergarten Principles (see below.) One advocate, a nurse, sends email missives to other, successful advocates who are not nurses, calling them names, and telling them to stop doing business because they can’t possibly do their jobs right or well – because they are not nurses. Many advocate wannabes report that they have tried to connect with advocates they find online, some in their own areas, some many…