The 7 Most Dangerous Words in Healthcare | The Nurse Keith Show, EPS 236

What are the seven most dangerous words in healthcare? In my universe, those seven words are, “that’s the way we’ve always done it“.

Highlights and questions from this episode:

  • Where do our habits and beliefs come from?
  • How do we so easily get bogged down in feeling right rather than listening and evaluating?
  • Resistance to change can be like an infectious disease.
  • Who are the people who resist change? They’re the ones who generally aren’t natural intrapreneurs or leaders. They’re more likely to be the people who just do their work and go home, with little investment in their careers or jobs – they’re mostly in it simply for the paycheck. Such individuals may also be fearful of technology, which one would think is a stark difference between generations, but that’s not always the case — resistance can come from any nurse from any generation.
  • What do we resist? New ways of doing things that take us out of our comfort zone; things that go against our natural modus operandi; new tech that feels scary or hard to learn; change for change’s sake and arbitrary change with no evidence base. We may also resist new leadership styles; new policies and procedures; new staff members and colleagues; novice colleagues; residents and interns; and any changes to our workflow and the way we’re used to doing things.
  • What changes around us? Economics; research; technology; medications and treatments; diagnoses; mergers and acquisitions;  unions or the lack thereof; staffing practices.
  • I mentioned the Tenet nurse strikes in three states earlier this month (September 2019)
  • How do we open ourselves and our colleagues to change? Use our critical thinking; assess before reacting; talk about the pros and cons; ignore the naysayers who say no just for the sake of saying no.

As I mentioned in one of my most recent Multibriefs News Service articles:

“Homo sapiens means “wise man” in Latin, and of all humanoid species having ever lived on planet Earth, only we have survived (with some Neanderthal in our genome, of course, as we’ve learned in recent years).

“Why did homo sapiens thrive while others disappeared into history? Perhaps it was mostly our willingness to learn new skills and invent novel ways of surviving using the prefrontal cortex that we developed.

“And what about those other proto-humans we cohabitated with for a while? They remained in a less developed state, clinging to what they knew, and summarily vanished from sight.

“In the healthcare milieu, there are naturally Neanderthals (you probably know who they are among your colleagues without even thinking) and their homo sapiens counterparts. To which camp do you and your peers belong?

“Are you an intrapreneur and innovative thinker who’s always bringing your A-game to the table and helping things change in a positive direction? Do you have coworkers who always seem to throw a wet blanket over new ideas?

“Science may show that humans are wired for negativity based on our evolutionary drive to survive, but there aren’t any saber-toothed tigers out there waiting to eat us (except for that mean old charge nurse you despise) and we can let down our guard and open our minds to needed, thoughtful change.

“Being a change agent in healthcare means that you naturally champion sensible change. The increased use of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and other technological developments may give you pause, but the tide is rising, and we must rise with it or drown.

“When changes are proposed that may compromise patient safety or your ability to maintain your license, speaking up is important. Change for the sake of change is as bad as resisting for the sake of resistance.

“Every facility, organization, and agency in the healthcare ecosystem needs the influence of those who will champion innovation, use critical thinking for the good of the whole, and not resist when it’s unnecessary and unhelpful to do so. Change agents and intrapreneurs are the lifeblood of healthcare organizations’ ability to evolve, and those willing to embody that spirit are worth their weight in gold.”

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Nurse KeithIn case you didn’t already know, Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, keynote and motivational speaker, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at


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