This month John Perry Barlow died.
Described by Stephen Levy of Wired as a “cowboy, poet, romantic, family man, philosopher, and ultimately, the bard of the digital revolution”, Barlow penned a list he called the “25 Principles of Adult Behavior,” as a series of instructions for life.
I see it as a series of turn signals and it inspired me to create the “25 Principles of Adult Behavior in Healthcare.”
I stole 9 of his principles (those in italics) and added a bunch of my own.
- Don’t assume you know what a patient is going through.
- Don’t think the patient owes you respect for caring for them.
- Don’t think anyone owes you respect because you’re in charge.
- Be patient with every patient. Be patient with everyone. Be patient. No matter what.
- Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame.
- Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him.
- Put nothing in writing that you are not willing to repeat in a court of law or have printed on the front of the local newspaper.
- Laugh at yourself frequently. Just laugh, but not at others.
- Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
- Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
- Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
- Praise at least as often as you disparage.
- Admit your errors freely and soon.
- Knock before entering.
- All people deserve dignity. Offer it.
- Everyone is frightened in healthcare, even if they don’t act like it – patients and admins alike.
- Leave it at the office.
- Address patients and others by their formal titles until they give you permission to do otherwise.
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, your nose and your mouth regardless of what your job is.
- Wash your hands frequently, regardless of what your job is.
- Listen more than you talk. Especially listen to patients even if you are sure you know what they are going to say.
- Let people finish their sentences and pause before answering.
- Start conversations with questions. You might be surprised at what you learn.
- If you’re the boss: sit at every workstation in the office once every three months and observe.
- Bring cookies to work once in awhile.