It's the phone thing

You know I'm a bit of a Simon Sinek fan, so I was not surprised when this interview he gave became a bit of a thing.

So much so there was a Facebook live event to talk about the topic further

Because I am a swirling mass of contradictions and I know that there is always an opposing idea, story or opinion, I like to seek those out. I came across this piece on LinkedIn with a different opinion on millennials.

And because I am, 'a swirling mass of contradictions', I agree with both of them. I do believe we need to think and talk about this in relation to health care. I don't want to be put in a category or a box and I doubt anyone else does? But I do want to belong and be included, so there must be a balance. I am therefore going to side step the whole millennial topic (for now). If you want to share your thoughts with me that would be great, as I do think it's a fascinating topic.

There is one point that I believe is the take home message, and that is the 'phone thing'. I don't think the use of phones is a generational thing and we do need to think about how this works in and for healthcare.

I know we need to answer phones to deal with patient needs; the ward coordinator to take handover from the emergency department, the doctor to take the call about a patient, the manager to know about the problem with the clinic equipment, the call to talk to a worried mother or husband.

So this is one of our greatest challenges and one of our greatest opportunities.

I've sat talking to someone, raising issues I was concerned and cared about, they received a text, read it and responded to it.  I felt invisible. Worthless. Not valued. Not important. I've sat in meetings when people have made calls, answered calls, sent texts, interrupted and ignored the meeting and those running it. It was annoying, embarrassing and frustrating.

If I feel worthless and invisible when other people use their phone how do I make others feel if I grab my phone to look at that text, or if I take that call.

I now act consciously with my phone, in meetings, and definitely when talking or meeting one on one with someone. I even go places without my phone. Now, you might say that its because my role is not important, vital or urgent, so it doesn't matter. Is it? Or is that our ego telling us that? Do we need those constant phone interactions to make us feel that we matter. I would challenge you that we don't.

I think we owe it to ourselves to take a look at our phones, look away and then look at our egos. When I moved from a service manager role to my current role, I knew that there would be a change. As a service manager I was in demand constantly, there was always a fire or a deadline, a call to return or someone that needed me. I was aware that stepping away from that would affect my ego, I recognised this, reflected on my ego and what that feels like for me and prepared for the change.

I thought about the link between feeling important, feeling needed, making a difference and where that comes from and how they are linked.

We are all important in this thing called healthcare, we all matter and we all make a difference. Where we can make a real difference is giving people our real attention when we are talking or meeting with them.


For more on this topic

Can we be addicted to texting?

Want to track your mobile phone use

5 Simple tips to spend less time on your phone

The joy of missing out

Maybe not a generational thing

7 TED talks that will inspire you to unplug




Katie QuinneyPhones, Generations