Golf is an interesting pastime. People who are into it and are decent spend tons of time, money and effort working on all aspects of their game. These dedicated folks are always at the driving range, putting green and getting in lots of golf rounds to perfect their shots.

As an occasional golfer who goes more for the company than the big drive, I am always impressed with the avid golfer who also spends a ton of time working on their recovery shot. Heck, 90% of their shots go straight and land pretty much where they want them to go, but when something goes wrong, do they have a shot they have practiced which gets them back on track? Patient care is no different.

No matter how much time we spend preparing, training, and practicing, things are going to happen. Recently, I was working with a hospital and it seemed as long as everything went as planned, the staff was awesome. Candidly however, it was their recovery shot that needed some work. How, for example, does your team react if lunch does not come for a patient, a patient waits longer than expected or presents an unusual request? How much does your team spend talking about the things which may come back to bite you?

The best teams in patient care know they are going to have to eventually deal with something they did not initially expect, and more importantly, they prepare and train for it. So often our training, conversations, and reinforcements revolve around ideal conditions and not the realities of what to do when things get off track. We need to realize that sometimes a quick recovery can make all the difference in the overall patient’s perception. In golf, being able to execute the recovery shot can get you past the miss hit and save your score. Developing your recovery shots as it relates to patient care will have the same effect.