Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews

Working cultures matter in care

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 12 March 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:726
  1. W Carter

    Some weeks ago my wife gave birth to twins at 25 weeks' gestation. Tragically one of the boys was stillborn, while the other is soldiering on bravely in the special care baby unit at our local hospital. Throughout these traumatic proceedings the hospital staff have been superb - from accompanying us through that first awful night in a room especially designed for grieving parents of stillborn children through to their current daily dealings with us when we visit the unit for the morning ward round and the nappy change and mouth care in the afternoon or evening.

    But we encountered a different culture when, after four weeks, our baby was transferred for a week to the larger, regional unit for an operation to close his patent ductus arteriosus. I work in industry, which has seen the publication of many dull volumes about corporate culture. I have always been sceptical about dissecting a concept as nebulous as this, and it has taken my current, unsought exposure to hospital life to bring home the reality of how much working culture can matter.

    Please do not misinterpret this as any criticism of the standard of care in the larger unit. The professionalism …

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