Strategize: “to make a plan for achieving a goal” (Merriam Webster, 2016).
Goal-setting is essential in providing effective health care (and most other areas of life where you want to achieve something), but it needs to go beyond having a vague idea of what you want to achieve. Goal-setting needs to go a bit deeper, into how you will achieve it.
Imagine this: There was a woman who wanted to start ice skating again. She happened to mention this to a health care provider one day. This health care provider, trying to help her regain some of the activities she lost, told her that her homework for the week was to go skating. However, the client just didn't feel comfortable or safe going skating - so she didn't. Every week the health care provider asked if she had gone yet, and expressed disappointment that she hadn’t. This left the woman feeling disappointed in herself, and never led to her going skating.
Fast forward a bit. The client had moved on to a new health care provider This one listened and acknowledged her concerns about balance and the risk of falling while skating. He also recognized that she was worried that a fall on the ice could lead to being in pain for a long time. The woman and her health care provider discussed which movements were likely safe (even if they hurt), and which movements were still best to avoid. He gave her simple strategies for improving balance, activities where she could succeed and see improvement. Though time, experience,and support, she learned skills that could help her achieve her goal. She also became more confident that she could deal with the effects of a potential fall. And finally, the health care provider shared in the excitement when the client did go skating on her own...and didn't fall!
There are a few different ideas that could be pulled out of these examples. Perhaps the biggest lesson in this story is the value of health care providers who listen to their client’s concerns. In the second example, the provider created plans with his client, rather than for her. He helped the woman achieve her goal by strategizing. The process of strategizing involved finding out what the woman’s goal was, digging deeper to find out what factors were interfering with that goal, and addressing those factors. In this way, the health care provider was able to make a true difference in the woman’s life.
Skates from freepik.com (Modified by Colleen and Ashley.)
Strategize. 2016. In Merriam-Webster.com.Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/strategize