Mike's Cheeky Blog: ... otherwise you go mad and feel overwhelmed
'I think, for me [it is a case of] just chipping away one little bit at a time, one person, one team at a time - and never underestimate the seeds you plant. And the growing seedlings you may never see - otherwise you go mad and feel overwhelmed. But it sure does help to have people like you and [name redacted] in the world - otherwise you go mad alone!'
I was sent that recently, by a clinician, when we were discussing how to create change inside healthcare systems: so for the clinician "from within a system', and for me 'from outside the system'. And it made me think back to 2009.
After my mother"s death, when I was trying to work out what was the cause of my own bad experience with 999 staff, I had to try and figure out 'how the 999 staff think'. What did they believe sensible and acceptable behaviour is, etc? I arrived at various conclusions - so then, I needed to "check my thinking'. When I started, back in 2009, I wasn't involved with Social Media: these days, I think many people would immediately turn to social media.
I was fortunate enough, during the first year of my 'investigations' (I should point out, that my 'concern' was that there were things which caused individuals within 'the system' to behave in ways which look unacceptable from the perspective of a family-carer - so not 'a bad individual' but 'a bad system'), to find several people (notably a civil servant at the Department of Health, a nurse-lecturer and a senior paramedic) who began to discuss my concerns with me, and who could see what was bothering me. There were also many clinicians and NHS organisations, who not only did not see, or at least 'sensibly acknowledge', my concerns - and who often supplied responses which were at best devoid of any useful information or input, and at worst were deeply annoying.
I think it would have been different if my complaint had been about the bad behaviour of a specific clinician, but for me - trying to prove 'the entire system is getting it wrong!' - it was probably important that I did find those people inside the system, who could see my point/s. Because, there is the doubt that 'perhaps I'm not seeing this clearly - perhaps 'they' (the professionals) understand things, and I (an amateur) have got it all wrong'. Unless you can put that doubt aside, I think you are quite likely to give up.
Even when the doubt has gone - even when you feel certain that your conclusions are perfectly valid - it is rather lonely 'to be going against the herd'. And the snail's pace of any change which you seem to be creating, is deeply frustrating. Which, is something clinicians can obviously feel as well as lay-campaigners - as that clinician said:
'... otherwise you go mad and feel overwhelmed. But it sure does help to have people like you and [name redacted] in the world - otherwise you go mad alone!'