An article was written about the influence of corporate business practices on health care decisions, and how patient outcomes can be influenced by the bottom line. In short, this type of all too common greed motivated behavior fires me up! More appropriately, I pose the question: what should be done to ensure patients are receiving the best care possible, without the interference of corporate greed and stockholder interests as a primary driver of health care practice? As a DPT and wellness coach, I look back on the content of my education and I would’ve liked to see more didactic preparation for the real world. A world that inescapably is interwoven with unrelenting political and economic priorities…priorities that could be killing people.
In our Universities, there should be more declarative learning in preparation for corporate environments, but I have to give some props to my school for giving us, as students, the opportunity to learn more about our individual innate strengths and offering clarity on what it means to focus on that. When you know yourself, and where your talents are best applied, you’ll be prepared to take on the greatest of challenges appropriately and effectively. I went back to school in my 30’s with my bachelors in Business Economics and no hard science foundation. Five years later I earned my Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Before grad school I spent over a decade in corporate finance, software, and owned a brokerage of my own. Took the financial collapse of 2007 – 08 (aka global financial crisis or great recession) to force me to question a lot of things, and I’ve come up with a few answers that might apply to this subject.
#1. NEVER do what you HATE for MONEY. Life’s too short, and if you hate what you do it’s likely not what you were built for. Do what you love, or at least what you like. Through advanced scientific instruments we know that there’s a vacuum of energy that you can harness when you do what you are meant to do. Modern quantum field measurements are becoming more and more valid, and they’re telling us that the constituents of these properties manifest as creativity, autonomy, inspiration, productivity, and happiness.
#2. There’s only so much you can learn in a classroom. Life teaches, yada yada. Success…what is it? It’s different things for different people but it can’t happen with transient definitions. Without divulging what my definition of success is (content for another post!), I can say that I’ve had success, lost it, and gained it back again. It was never lecture halls, office hours, or thesis research that forced me to self evaluate and ask the tough questions; it was post textbook experience that rattled my cage enough to want to see my personal truth and take action. Life has taught me what I will and won’t do. I won’t work in corporate America. You couldn’t pay me enough. That being said, politics and economics are always a factor in any sector and there should be some form of didactic preparation for it. Especially for those who are risk averse, and want to work for a larger corporation that has an independent HR resource.
#3. Fail forward! Kinda related to #2 but you have to get out there and fail. If you’re not failing you’re not growing as much as you could be. A wise man once said when you fail…fail forward. That means to understand that failure is part of the success equation and should be embraced, as long as you’re learning from it. Dare to challenge your limits, and the boundaries that others are auto-programmed to place upon you – crash into the status quo with questions and see what happens!
You will be laughed at, criticized, fired, ostracized, disliked, and you will certainly fail. You will also ascend to mastery of self, and when that happens people will follow you. However I must add that you must first follow before you lead, and choosing the right kind of leader is just as important as following your innate strengths! If you don’t want to be followed and want to be safe go work for a large corporation that might decide not only who you treat, but how. Of course there will usually be leadership opportunities, but of a different beast, and being best prepared for that is where school and life need to merge.
#4. The living corporation. Corporations are an entity and they have rights akin to people. This is called corporate personhood. What this means is that certain laws, and constitutional amendments apply to corporations just like people. However, the corporation doesn’t feel pain, or hunger. It doesn’t need sleep, or feel guilty if they can’t attend a funeral. The only thing the corporation needs is to make money. This is the proverbial bottom line. Period. No matter how you chalk it up every move that a corporate entity makes, whether it’s charity, celebrations, or layoffs, is due to the bottom line factor. Want an example? An OT told me an insurance company adjuster told her that a claim would be denied if the submission paragraph was too long. Want another example? Charity is often tax deductible, and oftentimes it’s a great opportunity to advertise. And of course, the title of the article that inspired this blogpost: “The time a 28-year-old MBA told a physician where to round first” – all examples of corporate pressure to increase the bottom line.
Obviously working for larger corporations with a lot of red tape and politics is not for me, but it might be for someone else. Who are you? Follower? Leader? Robot? Self Aware? If you’re searching for your next spot make sure you find a clinic that offers the type of mentorship or experiences that help you grow… Whether you’re built for the corporate world or not, it’s still good to prepare for life as a health care professional and that includes learning about any factor that can influence your profession, aligning your values accordingly and doing something about it…especially when it comes to patient outcomes.