Friday, May 21, 2021

We had snow here on Tuesday, a fair bit of snow and some of it is still here.  It's been below 0C at night this week but my plants are hanging in there.  Some of the plants have been covered with sheets or towels and some of the plants are hanging out in my kitchen.

I've been thinking a lot about why people don't change their minds, not even when faced with facts.  I've never understood it, not even in myself.  I try to be open minded but I know I have beliefs which defy logic.  Apparently a lot of research has been done on this subject by pyschologists.

Why people won't change their minds.  The full article is here.

1. We are pack animals.

2. Most of the time what learn from others is reliable.

3. Many fixed ideas are self congratulatory.

4. Changing our attitudes and ideas is likely to imply that we should change our behavior.

5. Perception is so malleable...believing is seeing.

Yesterday we had a nursing meeting about teaching patients pre procedure and what I discovered is that what I teach is not a good idea, or at least that was my take away from the meeting.  Nobody said that but I also know that I'm the only one that mentions wires and dilators in my teaching.  A third party watched us all teach patients pre-procedure and as a non medical person she wasn't comfortable with the inclusion of medical details.  It made her feel uncomfortable.  It makes me feel comfortable because of how I am but I can see how it might scare or intimidate non medical people (pretty much all of our patients).  I didn't say a lot in the meeting but I did say that one of the biggest problems in our department is the phrase, "Well that's how we've always done it.", which I apparently am just as guilty of as well.

We have a chance to change how we teach and I want to embrace it but I also have to look at my own teaching methods and change my behavior which is hard.  I'm getting better at it.  I used to believe that if I changed how I did things it would mean that what I've done is the past was all wrong, a mistake.  What I believe now is that when I know better, I do better.  Change doesn't mean that the past was wrong, it means that we know more now, we can still learn, we can change and do better.  That was difficult and even now I have to catch myself from feeling bad about the past.

When I started working in my department there were no teaching materials.  Everything we have now is stuff I developed on my own without direction from any managers.  It was better than nothing.  And now they want to change my teaching materials and I feel somewhat bereft.  But I also believe that standardized teaching methods are better for patients so I want to embrace this going forward.  It's tough because I believed what I was doing was the right way to do things.  But really, there are many ways to do things and what's important is, patient's getting the information they need.

I can see this playing out in the world right now.  People who believe there is a pandemic and people who don't believe.  People who believe that vaccinations work and people who believe it's about control.  What I also learned while reading this morning is that when people doubt their beliefs, they become more entrenched in defending their beliefs which explains a lot about the polarization of the world right now.  Things are changing.  People are scared.  Lets stick to what we know.  I don't want to change.  It's too scary.  

So I will embrace the changes coming in our teaching.  I will scale back the medical terminology, focus on what patients will feel during their procedure, not why they feel the sensations.  I will adapt and stop defending my previous teaching methods because I can do better and also because this is not about me, this is about my patients.  

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