"That's the Way We've Always Done It"
I think there is no other string of words put together that incites more frustration in the work environment. When someone is questioned as to why we do something a specific way and they respond, "That's the way we've always done it," it immediately invokes a few presuppositions in my mind. The person being questioned either: 1) Could care less about helping others learn and gain understanding; 2) Hasn't got a clue why it is done that way (and are unwilling to admit it); 3) Is so closed-minded they are unwilling to accept there may be a better, easier or at least equal way of doing it; or 4) Feels threatened if someone else "knows" as much as them — fearing for their job, status or whatever (the only reason one should have those fears is if they sit on their laurels and have stopped learning and pursuing excellence).
All three of these attitudes frustrate me. For one, that's just how I am wired. In my own self-analysis, I feel like I am very open to accomplishing the same goal, but in different ways, understanding the phrase "more than one way to skin a cat." As well, I feel like I have an understanding of "why" we do the things we do. Again, this comes from my personality, but I cannot stand to be in an environment where I don't understand what is going on and I guess in my "sunshine and daisies" world, think everyone else feels the same way.
Sorry to vent a little here, but when I see the attitude and approach in the cath lab of just "putting in my time," it becomes very disheartening. I learned many years ago as an educator that you can't "force" people to learn and honestly, I never understood why one would even try or have to.
Can we try as a profession to pursue excellence? Can we all promise to never answer a co-worker again with "that's the way we've always done it"? Even if you have been in the lab for 20 years…the answer, "I don't know, but let's find out" is OK. I've been around for 15 years and just realized I had the inflation times for cutting balloons wrong. I had always thought it was 1 second per atmosphere, not 5 seconds. I don't believe in the phrase "Knowledge equals power" and tend much more to believe that "Knowledge puffs up." Knowledge, if we let it, can make us arrogant, conceited, and, well, just not likable. Can we strive to help our co-workers in understanding why we do what we do and how things are done?
When I say more than one way to do something, in no way am I sacrificing quality or excellence. Whether you flush the transducer on the table or off the table, does it matter? Whether you have 5cc of contrast in your inflation device or 7cc, does it really matter? Will not either quantity fulfill the requirements to properly prep and inflate a balloon? There is value in "training" someone "one" way to do something in order to speed the orientation process, but as we continue to learn and grow in our field, we may find "easier", "more efficient" or even "preferred" ways of doing things. I set up my table differently than others. Is that OK? I chart things a little differently that others. Is that OK?
I realize I am almost "OCD" in doing things the "right" way and it infuriates me when others "just get it done" and throw out excellence. I am this way to even the frustration of my wife. I'm an instruction reader, so even how you load the dishwasher can be a compulsion for me. I know I have issues. I guess I'm asking others, for the maintenance of excellence in our profession, to realize your own "issues," and help out others in learning even the simplest and most minute details of the cath lab. Even if it seems remedial to you, will you take the time and help others understand and not hold on to "your" way of doing it with a clenched fist? Guard the outcome or goal with passion, but the process not so much.
Thanks for letting me vent. I'll step down from my soap box now.