Respectful Disagreement

I now work for an organization who’s mission publicly states that all employees are “passionate healers”. From the security guards to cafeteria staff to clinical staff, each employee is encouraged to act as a “passionate healer,” whether directly involved in patient care or not.

There is a process of indoctrination that occurs throughout the orientation to help every employee realize that they themselves should now consider themselves “passionate healers”. Each speaker (and their were many), mentioned the phrase, “passionate healers,” at least 4 times. When there was not an active power point presentation on the screen in the front of the class, the projector’s screen saver was a series of pictures of hospital staff smiling and interacting with patients with the subtitle, “passionate healer,” accompanying every picture. We were also provided with cards, name tags and folders with the phrase, “passionate healers,” embossed along the margins.

I understand that their goal is to create a staff that has a common objective of providing the patient with a positive experience at the hospital center with all staff working with a patient-centered approach.  I find their efforts admirable, but contrary to their dictum, I am not a healer.

Employed as a physical therapist, I understand my role within the organization and my responsibility to my patients not as a healer, but as an empathetic catalyst. The patients themselves are the healing, the healer and (hopefully) the healed.

It is important that I not take that away from them, such knowledge is empowering.


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