On stone cutting in PICU

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This guest blog post is from one of our PICU colleagues, Dr Heather Duncan. Heather reviewed some of our LfE reports, and wrote this blog post:

It’s not what we do but how we do it….

Reading the recent LfE reports reminded me of the story about the three stonecutters who are asked what they are doing. The first one says, “I am cutting a stone.” The second one says, “I am cutting this block of stone to make sure that it is square and it’s dimensions are uniform, so that it will fit exactly in it’s place in the wall.” The third stonecutter grins and replies, “I am building a cathedral.”

Each of us with our small tasks contributes to a much greater achievement. It is in particular not what we do, or even that we do, but how we do our work that we identify as excellent. Rather than stonecutting, in BCH the reports are about receiving and sharing patient feedback, being a team leader, a band 7, Admin colleague and consultant on both ordinary and difficult days in BCH. I have collected words from these IR2s about how we do our tasks that makes them notably excellent. Try reading them aloud. Calm, run smoothly, energy, positivity, helpful, resilient, considered, accepting, listened, sensitive, unruffled, go the extra mile, pleasure to work with, enthusiastic approach, empathy, compassion and respect. They are all descriptive words of how actions look and feel when we excel.

There are a few tasks in each of our roles that feel like cutting stone. Next time I come across one of those tasks I’m going to try to remember these positive words and see whether I can remember to do the routine with the energy and positivity; learning from excellence. Like the third stonecutter the tasks we perform every day are part of a whole and necessary for the grand picture of what we do, “building a cathedral.”

Heather Duncan

One thought on “On stone cutting in PICU

  1. Deanna Middleton

    The many opportunities that arise in a day are numerous! We often may never know when we have assisted in helping the excellence be pursued along the way.

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