Thoughtful Health Care offers a timely antidote to a climate dominated by endless rules, regulations, mission statements, and codes of practice. Fixation on avoiding risk at all costs has created a checkbox culture where everyone is treated according to standardized plans. Yet, people are complicated, and cannot be understood disconnected from the complex histories, values, and environments that shape us. Obsessive focus on “safety first” has obscured this reality and drastically undervalued critical thinking and insightful practice. David Seedhouse explains how simplistic labeling, mindless targets and empty slogans have created a delusion of control and efficiency, obscuring actual patient and carer realities. Using thought-provoking examples from health care and beyond, the book advocates the restoration of thoughtfulness, creativity, and independence in health work. By reading this book, students and practitioners alike will be aided in developing their decision making and critical thinking skills, and ultimately serve those in their care better and with more honesty. The book ends with a powerful and practical toolkit that can be used thoughtfully and effectively by every open-minded health worker. Thoughtful Health Care is for any health worker committed to caring with ethical awareness and practical sensitivity.
Chapter 1: The Values Delusion
There’s a widely accepted view of values, shared across many sectors of society, which goes something like this.
- Values can be clearly differentiated from each other.
- Values can be held and exhibited both by individuals and organisations.
- Values can be clearly identified as consistent drivers of individual and organisational behaviours.
- Values expressed as single words are understood in the same way by everyone who reads or hears them.
- Lists of different values – often known as ‘values statements’ – can consistently guide the actions of individuals and organisations.
- People can and should be recruited according to their values.
- If an organisation professes the right values, it will make the right decisions.
- Lists of values help us tell the difference between right and wrong.