I don’t know about you, but I’ve encountered quite a few…shall we say…prudish folks in Healthcare. For the most part, doctors and nurses and respiratory therapists, administrators, caseworkers, etc. have healthy senses of humor and don’t take themselves so seriously.
Still, there is a culture – or at least subculture – of people involved in healthcare who do in fact take the whole proposition of healthcare too seriously.
I understand: “healthcare is about saving lives, which is serious business, so we must take it seriously“.
Here’s the flaw – and the danger – in that line of reasoning: being serious is not the same as being responsible.
Being serious is an emotional state. It’s not really a call to action. And quite often it’s a set-up for anger.
This happens quite often in nursing, and explains why there is so much “eating of the young” and lateral emotional violence. Neither of which would be tolerated by Cultures of Responsibility.
This happens in hospital administration, and explains in part why we have genocidal acquired infections rates. All those serious attitudes about safety and reimbursement and cost-reduction crowd out the very acceptance of responsibility which would more effectively address those three problems.
Being responsible is not about oneself: it’s a frame of mind which is focused on assessing the surrounding, understanding what needs to be done and taking the right actions.
Being serious, ultimately, is about unleashing anger and blame at someone – not solving problems.
Huge difference between these two words.
And yet, I think that the pervasiveness of Serious in healthcare has caused quite a bit of trouble. It creates stress. It fails to notice things outside the scope of the object of its focus and it just might explain why an iPhone can instill panic.
This difference is key to working in social media, as well as general healthcare communications and marketing.
It’s easier to be serious than it is to be responsible.
Anybody can be serious.
It takes a professional to be responsible.