3M CES 2021 wrap-up: Professionalism and values in health care

July 23, 2021 / By L. Gordon Moore, MD

Like most people (I hope), I can get caught up in the details of my work and life to the point that I’m in back-to-back meetings, dashing from one task to the next and feeling like I’m not exactly swimming in a sense of accomplishment. From what I read and hear from colleagues about burnout in the health care workforce—exacerbated by COVID-19—we’re in a jam.

I believe that part of the jam is due to how much of our daily time and efforts are diverted by tasks that have little to do with why we work in health care. Ours is a noble profession, one with very special permissions to engage with people at times of extreme hardship and duress. 

“I have bad news; your cancer is back.”
“I’m sorry to say that your son is not going to be able to walk again.”
“There is nothing more that we can do.”

We knew this was part of what we signed up to do. What we did not know was how much of our time would be taken up by training to use badly designed software, by sitting in classrooms memorizing lists of coding requirements, by “mother-may-I” rules that seem designed to deny needed care and drive us crazy.

We work on improving the technology, automating as much as possible so that we can focus on what matters most: patient care. Ben Nemtin wrote the book “What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?” to remind us that every once in a while, we might want to step back and think about what really matters. I think if we do this more, we might just possibly create collective momentum to focus more on the caring and healing that drew us to this profession. 

Listen to Ben Nemtin on the 3M Inside Angle podcast and spend a moment considering what really matters to you.

Dr. Gordon Moore is Senior Medical Director, Clinical Strategy and Value-based Care for 3M Health Information Systems.