I’ve decided to take a proactive approach to getting people like me hired at other hospitals. I’m doing this for several reasons. First, I think I do good work, and that my field is relevant and valuable to the industry of health care delivery. Second, if I ever decide to leave MECMC, I want there to be positions available for me to take. I have some published success at what I do. But being good at something that there’s no market for isn’t necessarily valuable.
So I’ve decided that I’m going to try to improve the market. I’m writing a paper for the Healthcare Quality literature on how to employ the kind of computer modeling I do, and incorporate people like me into the quality improvement department. A straightforward how-to paper: what is a healthcare delivery simulationist? Where should they fit in the hospital? What does project management look like? What is development and what is deployment of simulations?
I love science, and the academic aspects of my work. But I am, at my heart, an engineer. And I’ve never been gifted at academic rigor when it comes to the science side of my work. But I am good at building a model and figuring out how to make systems work better than they do. From an engineering point-of-view, a lot of the academic work in my field is done. We know how to build models and validate them. People often do it badly, but that’s not from lack of humanity’s understanding of the field, rather simply from that individual’s lack of education or diligence.
My goal is to provide a road-map for how to incorporate my kind of work, and a brief illustration of the value of such work. Ideally, the sorts of people who read the quality literature (often physicians with administrative responsibilities) will decide that their hospital can use a person like me to help them test improvements and develop simulations. The more institutions engaging such efforts, the more health care delivery is streamlined. And, in a perfect world, the more places I could theoretically work if I ever did want to move on (though, great jiggling friar-bellies do I love it here!).
I have no illusions that my one paper, if published, will single-handedly change the approach to quality improvement in any measurable way. But I think that, given that the technology I use is growing, and that there is a significant presence for it in a number of journals and conferences, a paper detailing how to make institutional use of such an asset, instead of just “here’s a technology with potential”, might influence a director or two to pull the trigger on hiring.
But of course, I’ll never know. In fact, except in rare circumstances, do we ever really get to know the impact of our work at all?