By Jane A Malkoff MSN RN NP

Talk – Softly

It was very exciting to begin contemplating the resolutions posted in the last blog.  There were twelve, one for each month.  A perfect way to focus intentions for the year!  As it turns out, I will need some serious help if I am going to succeed with even the first one, “Talk – Softly”.  It is, well, difficult.  Though it feels a bit like a fail on my part, I will remain positive at this juncture.  Since I work closely each day where the broken parts of the health care system exist,  I will allow for the possibility I may need to give myself a chance to ease into this first of the twelve resolution/intentions.

I recently lost awareness of the intention of “Talk-Softly” during a call with an emergency room employee.   I found out at the end of my rope I have more voice left than I thought.  It was the kind of frustration one gets which can cause tears to flow.  This person, unfortunately,  had absolutely no awareness of how ridiculous they were nor how they were bullying to get what they wanted.  I realize many workers in the health system are victims of the health care system too.  As a long-time advocate with over 30 years in nursing, I have seen this bully method repeatedly.

Though I felt no remorse after I spoke loudly, I did question the intention of talking softly as a worthy goal.  It left me with many questions.  Here are a few:

Should we “Talk – Softly” when many medical offices repeatedly do not care who you are or how you are but only that you don’t stay too long or ask too many questions?

Should we “Talk – Softly” when hospitals want you and your family to ask fewer questions and hopefully not be present when the provider makes their rounds?

Should we “Talk – Softly” when the long-term care facility sends your loved out to geriatric psychiatric hospital for typical dementia behaviors their untrained staff cannot figure out how to care for?

Should we “Talk-Softly” when the health care system again and again lacks conscientious options for older adults who are suddenly without care provision?

Should we “Talk-Softly” when MD offices do not return calls for days about important concerns and treat you like a burden when they do respond?

Talk -Softly.  When?  All the time?  Should we speak softly when alerting others to a potentially deadly fire?  The statistics on annual risk of death by fire compared to the annual risk of death from being in the health care system would answer that question swiftly and give us all the courage to speak up when in the system, or at least to talk softly while carrying a big stick.