Perception as an instrument of change

Perception (definition): a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression

It doesn’t take a scientific study to say that practicing in a model is preferable to learning to perform medical procedures on patient after patient during on-the-job medical training. Yet few national bronchology societies purchase airway models to train their members. Indeed, the major obstacle I encounter while fundraising for our global medical education projects, is my inability to respond to the following question raised by potential philanthropists; “Why don’t doctors donate some of their own money to their national bronchology associations to buy models?”

I still don’t have a satisfactory answer.

Last year, I met John Perkins at a writers’ conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. John identifies himself as an agent of change. He invites others to help him make the world a better place by exploring different cultures, spreading love, and protecting the environment. I witnessed firsthand the enthusiasm manifested by his workshop attendees, and I wonder whether a similar enthusiasm is shared by medical doctors attending our Train the Trainer workshops around the world. After all, doctors can make the world a better place by promoting selfless service, enhancing technical skills without exposing patients to the dangers of on-the-job training, and advocating for patient rights. These elements form the philosophical foundation of our seminars.

John writes that “Human activity is determined largely by perceived reality. Religions, culture, legal and economic systems, corporations, and even countries are created and maintained by perceived reality; when enough people accept a perception or when it is codified into law, that perception changes objective reality. The way to change economic and other systems is through crossing a Perception Bridge from old ways of thinking into new ones.” (John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man).

That is what Certified and Master instructors of the Bronchology Education Project do. We ask bronchoscopists to cross a Perception Bridge. We ask them to abandon the idea that learning on patients is okay, and urge them to commit the intellectual and financial resources necessary to acquire technical skills using models before they perform procedures on people. One of my goals is that every bronchology association in the world has at least one model to help teach medical procedures. This will change our objective reality, and make the world a better place by eliminating patient suffering caused by on-the-job medical training.