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Having a point of view? Good. Acting on it? Priceless.

September 28th, 2009

by Anthony Cirillo

I recently had an engaging conversation with Kellyann Curnayn, author of A Good Day in Hell: The Flatlining of Nurses Across America.

Yeah, that title gets your attention. So does Kellyann, a dedicated, practicing nurse. She shared with me her view that nurses do not get paid to take care of patients--they get paid to fill out paperwork. She shared with me some insights on the level of lateral, nurse-on-nurse violence that occurs in healthcare across settings every day. Much of it is based on the need to cover your you-know-what.


She said that unless leadership emulates the behaviors, rather than merely talking about the behaviors, no one will follow. Some healthcare leaders may not agree with everything she writes, but she's hardly alone. As Winston Churchill once said, "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something."

Like Kellyann, there are many people outside of healthcare who have a point of view and act on that point of view to make healthcare better for all. There are many inside of healthcare that have the former and not the latter. In their heart they know what is right, but rules, regulations and job security combine to force these folks into hunkering down, laying low and doing their job.

The trick is to move from theory into action, from what's in the heart to what's on the floor. How do you do this? I don't have an answer here, but we need to at least start the dialogue. If the patient-experience starts with the employee experience, it will begin only when leaders show us how. Having a point of view is OK. Acting on it is what counts.

Anthony Cirillo, FACHE, ABC, is president of Fast Forward Consulting, which specializes in management and strategic marketing for healthcare facilities. You can contact him at


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