Doing Something Stupid: The Checklist

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According to Gawande, the first industry to really harness the power of the checklist was aviation. Once the B Flying Fortress a 4 engine heavy bomber aircraft for the U. Today the aviation industry is filled with different checklists to aid pilots, co-pilots, and flight attendants.

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We often think of a checklist as insulting to our intelligence, but the main purpose of the checklist is to help professionals stay disciplined in their work, follow protocol thoroughly, and avoid simple mistakes when they should know better because we all make stupid mistakes sometimes. The Checklist Manifesto is a great book by surgeon and public health researcher Atul Gawande. It describes the simple power of a checklist to help minimize mistakes and cultivate professional discipline.

The first surgical checklists amounted to “drill a hole” (5th Millennium BC onwards)

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He includes great examples of the power of checklists among doctors, nurses, pilots, architects, chefs, and investors. Here are the key reasons why checklists can be an important tool for cultivating discipline and professionalism:. This last step is probably one of the most important to remember. At their prime, Van Halen was known for being a big arena rock band which included an intricate live show with lots of technical gear and specific instructions to follow.

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It essentially functions as a checklist. He explains his reasoning below:. They spend their holidays designing lessons for you that you will love. Do stuff that will give you a good story, something to laugh at in a few years. What insecurities do you have? Why does he make you frustrated in school? Learn to reflect on yourself and the moments that sucked and why.

Just write. Get a shitty fucking job that has dumb hours and makes your cheeks greasy. Get a job where you hate half the people you work with, and half the people you serve. Navigate the stress of retail or hospitality. Feel the elation that comes with a Thursday afternoon payslip. Watch the News. Become more educated, use your time to learn.

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Enrich your conversations and surround yourself with people that encourage your personal growth and development. We spend hours and hours on our phones. The next three people to text you: ask them out for milkshakes or a bush walk. Your eyes are turning into squares. Your brain is getting more excited about likes and comments than it does about the waves crashing on the shore and the trees rustling in the winds. Go outside. Be thankful for what you have done with your life so far. Be thankful for your friends. Look at your future and recognise its blurry confusion.

Take comfort knowing that the cyclone of life will forever pick things up and throw them elsewhere, and that the storm has only just begun. When you write about processes as often as we do here on the Process Street blog it can be tempting to waffle on about the importance of processes in technical terms. Business process management is a means to deploying and monitoring them effectively. Medicine and surgery involve incredibly complex processes, and the price of getting any step wrong or, worse yet, forgetting to complete a step before moving on can mean the literal death of your patient.

The odds are truly stacked against you, and the stakes are almost never higher for if you fail. Yet still, day in and day out, these medical and surgical checklists and procedures are carried out to near perfection, thus saving the lives of countless patients and making many more rest easy in the knowledge of their diagnosis.

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After all, modern medicine is capable of utterly amazing feats which even Pasteur and Semmelweis would find astounding, let alone Hippocrates or prehistoric man. When a three-year-old girl fell through an icy fishpond in a small Austrian town in the Alps, she was lost for almost thirty minutes before her parents discovered her at the bottom. In total, she was medically dead for two hours before they were able to restart her heart no heart or brain activity. What followed was a gruesome list of medical and surgical procedures, any one of which could have resulted in catastrophe for this young girl.

Yet, despite all the odds, there was light at the end of the tunnel. One week later, she awoke from a coma. After two weeks she was living at home again. Within two years and after extensive therapy the partial paralysis and slurred speech she suffered from as a result of the accident were nowhere to be seen. To save this one child, scores of people had to carry out thousands of steps correctly… The degree of difficulty in any one of these steps is substantial. In this case they literally let us achieve what would otherwise be impossible and save the life of a young girl who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

(As you are reading, you probably don’t need it as much as I do)

What are the most important processes you know of? Find him on Twitter here. We're hiring. Checklists , Processes. Speaking of which… Humoral theory and the Hippocratic Oath show the need for process improvement and re-engineering 5th century BC Skipping forward to the Ancient Greeks and a little beyond , the predominant idea behind medical practices was now that of the four humors. Source The humors represented the four elements of air, water, earth, and fire, and consisted of blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile respectively although blood was thought to contain all four elements.

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Source The Hippocratic Oath, combined with the dangers still associated with surgery despite now having iron tools, infection was a high risk , meant that surgery was often a last resort for physicians. More is let if the condition is severe. Source The lack of effective pain relief meant that the prized skills of a surgeon were speed and accuracy.

So, how does this relate to surgical processes? Well, not entirely.

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Source Instead, this development allowed surgery as a field to advance into more complex and internal operations, along with drastically increasing the comfort of patients. Germ theory, antisepsis, and asepsis show why following processes is important s After Louis Pasteur provided proof of germ theory the theory that some diseases were caused by germs in the early s, the race was on to find a way to deal with and nullify this newfound threat. Thus, Semmelweis had a brainwave.