Updated: Feb 6, 2018
June 21, 2017- Skilled Wound Care
Learning never stops.
At our recent provider’s retreat in Palm Springs, we were reminded of what really sets our physicians apart: they are committed to lifelong learning. We welcomed our largest turnout yet: a full seventy percent of our doctors came out to hear the latest news in wound care, to learn the latest best practices and techniques, and to challenge their own understanding of how to provide the best care.
We were inspired to ask ourselves, what makes someone a lifelong learner? And what can stand in the way?
Growth vs. fixed mindsets
One recent explanation that’s gained tremendous traction is the idea of mindsets: that someone’s attitude toward learning is a huge component of their success (or failure). Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck explains:
“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or
talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talents instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success - without effort. They’re wrong.
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work - brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.” (Carol Dweck)
And it doesn’t just apply to individuals - Dweck and her colleagues have also studied companies, and have found that at organizations that promote learning, collaboration, openness, and innovation, people report much higher levels of satisfaction, job performance, and happiness. (We are much too modest to mention our 90% job satisfaction rate here. Whoops, no we’re not.)
On the other hand, at companies with a more fixed-mindset approach, employees routinely reported a culture of secrets, intense fear of failure, an unwillingness to take risks, and corner-cutting.
It’s undeniable that a growth mindset - both at the individual and at the organizational level - is instrumental to success. We don’t have to look any further than our dedicated providers at our retreat to remember that. So what can stand in the way?
Sometimes, Dweck says, in spite of the fact that we really want to be open and innovative, we fall into mental traps. She outlines three common misconceptions:
“I already have it, and I always have.” Being flexible, positive, or open-minded is not the same as having a growth mindset. Nobody - no matter how positive - has a “pure” growth mindset; we all can be defensive or insecure about something, and fall into patterns that keep us from growing.
“Good job!” Unproductive efforts, says Dweck, is never a good thing. Outcomes matter. She writes: “It’s critical to reward not just effort but learning and progress, and to emphasize the processes that yield these things, such as seeking help from others, trying new strategies, and capitalizing on setbacks to move forward effectively. In all of our research, the outcome — the bottom line — follows from deeply engaging in these processes.”
“Growth mindset = good things happening.” Growth means being uncomfortable, taking risks, and trying new things. Some of those things, inevitably, will not work out. Writes Dweck, “[Growth mindset organizations] reward employees for important and useful lessons learned, even if a project does not meet its original goals. They support collaboration across organizational boundaries rather than competition among employees or units. They are committed to the growth of every member, not just in words but in deeds, such as broadly available development and advancement opportunities.”
Offering opportunities to continually grow and develop - with the full understanding that that growth may not always be comfortable! - is why we bring our providers together multiple times a year.
So thank you, to all our wonderful doctors and physicians’ assistants, who embody a lifelong love of learning. We can’t wait to see you at our next retreat, and to keep growing together as learners and healers.
Skilled Wound Care is a mobile surgical practice committed to transforming the chronic wound care model in nursing facilities. Wound care experts make weekly bedside visits to patients in long-term care facilities, avoiding transfers to hospitals or clinics. Our expert physicians give patients the most up-to-date and effective wound treatments, and educate facility staff on how to help patients continue to heal quickly and effectively between visits. This model of collaborative care allows SWC’s physicians to improve patients’ lives and health outcomes, to empower nursing staff, and to raise public awareness. Skilled Wound Care, along with its nurse and nursing home partners, is working every day to positively transform traditional nursing home wound care.