Friday, September 19, 2008

Creative Capacity

In the medical education literature there's something called Attentive Capacity or attention. In the operating room it manifests itself when a surgeon asks for the music to be turned down at a difficult point in the operation. She needs to use all of her concentration to focus on the task at hand, and the music is using part of that concentration.

Being so busy back at work the past few weeks I begin to wonder if creativity is also governed by a similar capacity limit. Accomplishing tasks in the hospital is difficult and requires thinking outside of the box. All doctors are advocates for their patients and spend days making sure that they get the right care. Does that take up their ability to focus on creative outlets? Is that why coming back to residency has put a stop to a lot of my reading?

Having just been away doing an MBA the first solution that comes to mind is to standardize patient flow to make sure that I don't have to put in all this legwork to treat patients. But, working with orthopedic trauma also reminds me of the varied needs of patients. Better to have strong advocates and personalized care.

How else can we maintain our creative pursuits and our personalities when working hard? I'm going to keep looking for the balance and the solution to increase my creative capacity. Maybe it's this blog?

1 comment:

shannon said...

Hi Jesse, Colin gave me the link to your blog and I was checking it out and wanted to comment. This is coming from someone with absolutely no experience working in the medical field, so perhaps I'm way off base here. But it seems to me that simply working IN the medical profession must sap a lot of creativity out of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. You have to learn to think in all kinds of different ways, using your imagination and creativity to come up with solutions for individual patients. Maybe that's not the answer MDs would want to hear as we all want and need pursuits outside of our careers, but it wouldn't surprise me that some of your more creative endeavours might suffer upon going back into medicine because the nature of the work appears (to me) to be pretty creative in nature. The science is there, but the science is what gives you the information you need to think "outside the box" as you say. Interesting post. I'll be reading in the future!