Friday, September 18, 2009

The Human Side of Healthcare

Thank you to Mark Hurst of Good Experience for this alert. [If you don't subscribe to his excellent Good Experience email newsletter, you really should. They are simple, relevant, and always insightful. Sign up here.]

Mayo Clinic photo

Minnesota's own Garrison Keillor, author, poet, and host of radio's A Prairie Home Companion, recently suffered a minor stoke. In his regular column, Keillor shares the medical -- and human experience -- he had at the Mayo Clinic.

Sept. 16, 2009 |

"Nurses are smart and brisk and utterly capable. They bring some humor to the situation. ('Care for some jewelry?' she says as she puts the wristband on me.) And women have the caring gene that most men don't. Men push you down the hall in a gurney as if you're a cadaver, but whenever I was in contact with a woman, I felt that she knew me as a brother. The women who draw blood samples at Mayo do it gently with a whole litany of small talk to ease the little blip of puncture, and 'here it comes' and the needle goes in, and 'Sorry about that,' and I feel some human tenderness there, as if she thought, 'I could be the last woman to hold that dude's hand.' A brief sweet moment of common humanity."

With a vigorous debate underway on healthcare and all its complexities, Keillor beautifully cuts to the chase on what really matters most.

[SIDE NOTE: To learn more about the Mayo Clinic and its renown brand of care, I highly recommend the recent book by Len Berry and Kent Seltman, Management Lessons from the Mayo Clinic: Inside One of the World's Most Admired Service Organizations. Links: or Google Books (including links to your local library)]

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