Thursday, July 16, 2009


When I was in 10th grade, I got a 92 on my first semester English exam. I had studied hard for the exam, and I was upset by getting an A- in a class where I always got an A+. I went to talk to Mr. Jolly, my English teacher. He told me he was expecting the conversation--he knew I'd be disappointed. He listened to me talk about how I had prepared and I believed I deserved a better grade. His response left me even more frustrated. It was something along the lines of, yes, you studied, and yes, you did well, but you can do better. He said that his standards weren't the typical view of objective--he was comparing my performance on that exam not with what the average performance was, but with what I was capable of.
I never really understood the importance of that conversation until now.
There have been a lot of problems here with some apparent laziness on behalf of the nurses. They tend to reject change and extra work, making things much harder for administrators and the doctors, who often pick up some of the extra responsibilities. They don't complain, but the situation is frustrating for the Americans, who are accostomed to much different habits in the States. But I think it's similar to my problem in 10th grade. I saw my English effort within the context of my 10th grade class--standards that allowed me to get good grades easily were high enough for me. I didn't really think about what good writing skills could do for me later on--I wasn't going to be an author, and if I was, I'd learn more in college, so why try so hard now? I had to be good at it if I was getting the grades I got, so that seemed to be all that there was.
The nurses aren't researchers, they don't use the database with coding systems, so why make that transition? If it's really that important, they'll get more reminders. They must be good nurses because they genuinely help the patients, so that seems to be all there is. The concept of research is somewhat foreign.
So how do you teach that? How do raise personal standards? Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a Mr. Jolly use something as inconsequential as a 92 to illustrate such a concept.

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