Today is Veteran’s Day in the US and so my kids are off of school and we try to take most of the day off to enjoy time with family. However, I can’t help but make mention of all those who have served in our military. It’s a huge sacrifice to do so. I’m not just talking about heading into harms way and the obvious ultimate sacrifice of losing one’s life. The sacrifice of being deployed is something I appreciate more and more. It’s hard to be away from your family and it’s hard for your family for you to be away at war.
On this day I generally think of my brother who was in the Marines, switched to the Air Force as a Navigator on the C-130 and is now in the National Guard and working to become a pilot. You can read about his experience becoming a pilot on his blog, The Aviation Guy. His recent article on Crew Resource Management has a lot of applicability to teams in healthcare. This is particularly true in the OR room, but even in health IT teams.
While I love my brother and appreciate his sacrifice, today I’ve been thinking more about my grandmother. My sweet grandma loved to crotchet and do plastic canvas. She was a short and stout lady with an extremely kind heart. Of course, to me she was just grandma and I loved her and she loved me. It wasn’t until I was probably in my 20’s that I discovered that sweet little grandma had worked in a machine gun factory. Talk about blowing a grandchild’s mind.
It was a different time then, but my grandma took part in the Waves (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service). She got to train in the Bronx and then was sent to the Naval Air Station in Seattle, Washington. While I’m sure the pressures from war were rough, it sounds like she made some dear friends and she says she spent “many happy hours at the U.S.O. in Seattle. She later went to San Diego and worked for the American Legion as adjutant.
When we think about the World Wars we often hear the stories about the soldiers on the front lines and in many ways that’s how it should be. However, today I’m thinking about all of the people back home who supported the war efforts like my grandma.
Sounds a bit like healthcare to me. We often talk about the doctors and that’s good since they do an important work and literally save people’s lives. However, we can often forget about all the support staff that make healthcare a success. The nurses. The front desk. The billers. The coders. The cleaning staff. The chefs. The IT staff. The care managers. The clergy. The HIM staff. The security. etc
On this Veteran’s Day, thank you to each of you for the roles large and small you play in making the world a better place. Maybe you have a movie made about you and your efforts or maybe nobody but you knows the value you offered. We thank you for your sacrifice.