Here is a Q + A with author Sue Robins about her newest book, Ducks in a Row: Health Care Reimagined, which is now available on Amazon.
1. What with your thing about birds? Your first book was called Bird's Eye View and this one is Ducks in a Row. Well, my last name is Robins and it is forever spelled incorrectly as Robbins, with two b's. So when I say my name out loud, I say, “R O B I N S” like the bird. Besides, if you have a last name like Robins, you have no choice to be obsessed with birds.
2. Do the ducks ever get in a row?
I can’t tell you that! You have to read the book to find out. I can say that health care executives often wait for things to be perfect, like rubber ducks lined up in a row, before there’s any action. I’m here to tell you that in real life, ducks don’t line up perfectly in a row. So don't wait for them to be aligned -- the time for action is NOW.
3. Have you given up on health system change?
I have given up on health system change. Even as you ask me that I want to put my head down on the table in defeat. What I do believe in is the power of ordinary individuals to make a difference in each other’s lives and improve health care one small thing at a time.
4. Tell me how you really feel about the executives eating avocado toast in their fancy boardrooms.
(Insert the sound of me screaming here). The corporate-CEO-efficiency model of health care had led us directly into the mess we are in today. It is past time to reallocate the money from executive salaries back to where actual health care happens. More compassion, less corporate. More comforts for patients and the staff who care for them, not executives. This does NOT mean moving toward private health care! This means less corporate crap, not more.
5. Why have you been called the Ted Lasso of health care advocacy?
Ah, nursing professor Wendy Looman called me that in her book endorsement! I think it is because even though Ducks in a Row rails on power imbalances in health care, it is still a relentlessly optimistic book that believes in people’s capacity to love.
6. What does health care reimagined look like?
It looks like conversations in coffee shops and around kitchen tables. Healing environments with soft music and art on the wall. Safe spaces for everybody to share all sorts of stories – the good, bad and the ugly. Most of all, my reimagined health care world is about acting today to honour both those who need care, and those who do the caring.
Become part of the groundswell.
You can buy a paperback copy of Ducks in a Row: Health Care Reimagined here. It is a book of encouragement for those who reject the status quo and who pine for change in health care. Packed with ideas, and importantly, practical ways to overcome barriers to change.