What I learnt this week: You’re wrong, but does that make me right? #WITLW

This is the 88th #WILTW

Health care professionals values’ are usually pretty similar. However when it comes to their vision of how to improve services things can vary widely.


This dichotomy causes great challenges for health care organisations. Take a group of clinicians and ask them why we should treat condition ‘X’ well and you’ll get consensus. Ask the same group to agree on a guideline to treat ‘X’ and you will be there all day.

One of the challenges I face as a consultant in their early years’ of practice is not allowing practicality to get in the way of purpose. Experience brings with it a potential belief that the way you do things is the best way to do things. It is a fact of life that there will always be two different ways of doing things, and both will be ‘right’ in the eyes of those promoting them. Once entrenched, and this is where I sincerely hope reflection will always keep me open minded, it can be difficult to see another person’s view point.

This is no more evident than in the gun ownership debate as demonstrated in a medical education discussion group I am part of. The mostly American participants were discussing the responsibilities of the medical profession to promote gun safety. I’d suspected the debate would have centred around public health responsibilities but it quickly became apparent that some in the group are passionate advocates for very liberal gun control. The prospect of not having guns at home seemed abhorrent to some. While this is a view I can not understand, I’d believed, arrogantly as it appears, it was from an angry, poorly educated part of society. I was wrong. Adam Goplik, writing 3 years ago, described the underlying challenge well


Given how differently the same situation is viewed by different groups, and the incredulity with which they view each others positions, leads me to wonder if I have ever been on the ‘wrong’ side. Unfortunately that very reflection infers a value judgement that there is a right way. While different negotiation styles are clearly necessary to relieve severe impasses I think it is also beholden on all of us to think – Why does my vision of what is ‘right’ make your vision ‘wrong’?

What have you learnt this week? #WILTW

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