habits-healthcare-blogThe habits of the heart that Parker Palmer identifies in Healing the Heart of Democracy have much to offer those of us working in health care today. As I think about each habit and its relevance, the habit “We are all in this together” is particularly compelling.

Those of us in healthcare are guilty of spending time pointing a finger in any direction other than our own when we think about who is responsible for the mess. It’s the insurance companies. The drug companies. The doctors. The specialists. The hospitals. The nurses. The patients. The lawyers. We often hear if only this particular group would take responsibility and change then everything will be ok.

Of course, the truth of the matter is that it will take all of us to create a healthcare system that reflects the best of us. Having worked in insurance companies, provider groups and large health systems, it is very clear to me that each part of the whole has good people who came to health care to make a difference. Our opportunity is to turn to each other and find ways to solve the problem together. Among other important habits of the heart, it will take clarity of individual purpose and respect for others’ views and differences.

Perhaps a step in the right direction is bringing kindred spirits in healthcare together, which is why we created the Integrity in Healthcare Institute. On April 24-27, 2013, we will hold the 2nd annual gathering called Integrity in Healthcare: The Courage to Lead in a Changing Landscape. Through this three-and-a-half day gathering we will be exploring Parker’s habits of the heart to see how they might be helpful to our own personal leadership and organizational leadership. We will also be talking about how some of the other practices of Circles of Trust can help create workplaces of integrity.

Join me, my co-facilitators Diane Rawlins, Richard Shugerman, and a growing community of healthcare professionals as we explore how each of us can contribute to creating a healthcare system, as Parker Palmer would say, “worthy of the human heart.” Find out more about our Annual Health Care Institute.

Tell us, which “habit of the heart” do you feel is most needed in health care today?

5 Habits of the Heart

  1. An understanding that we are all in this together
  2. An appreciation for the value of “otherness
  3. An ability to hold tension in life-giving ways
  4. A sense of personal voice and agency
  5. A capacity to create community

From Parker Palmer’s book, Healing the Heart of Democracy.

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