Ducks in a Row offers a fresh take on health care transformation – a shift from the corporate model back to the foundation of caring for each other as human beings.


Based on Sue Robins’ work in patient engagement, this book shares wisdom and practical advice for those who rail against the status quo and yearn for authentic change. 


Ducks in a Row will be released in paperback and eBook formats on January 18, 2022. You can pre-order the eBook edition today and it will be sent to you automatically in January!


The following is a chapter excerpt from Ducks in a Row that shares the story behind the title.


A Couch in Melbourne

I was perched on a couch in a living room in Australia many thousands of kilometers away from the comfort of my own home. I glimpsed the resident kangaroo in the backyard, reminding me how far away I was from my family.

I was jet-lagged and overwhelmed with anxiety, nervously practicing my presentation for a health consumers conference the next day. Before me was an attentive audience of two: the couple who had kindly billeted me in their house in Melbourne.

The title of my presentation was Meaningful Engagement or Tokenism and it included a photo of a row of ducks. My speaking notes said: “Hospitals, if you are waiting to get all your ducks in a row before you partner with patients, well, that time is never going to happen.”


In my speaking notes, I implored, “Don’t wait for perfection before you engage patients. Start now”.

My hosts, Rod Phillips and Catherine Crock, are physicians in a children’s hospital. They listened carefully to my rehearsal. Afterwards, Rod paused, delicately choosing his words for feedback, focused on the duck slide.

“Well, hospitals will never actually get their ducks in a row unless they start to involve patients and families,” he said. A light bulb turned on in my fuzzy head.

With these simple words, my duck analogy was turned upside-down. Rod had nailed the essence of the whole Humanity in Health Care movement.

Your ducks will never be in a row until you partner with the people. 

We must fully reimagine health care to change health care...




Sue is a dynamic podcast guest and is also available for a media interviews or as a guest blogger.

Contact us for details:

The Ducks in a Row press kit can be downloaded here.

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