Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
The Importance of Honesty in Uncertain Times

The Importance of Honesty in Uncertain Times

Society has done something that has not been done before—we shut down a complex country for weeks out of concern that too many sick people would swamp our healthcare system. Texas Tech University HSC proudly and effectively did its part.  Society is “opening up” but, as I write these words, we are seeing a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Lubbock area and Texas. This is an oversimplification, and I am not saying I agree with it—but, folks often characterize our choices as: protect people or wreck the economy.  

So, this is hard, right? With the ground shifting beneath us, we have had to both learn new things and keep our balance while moving forward. Many people have suffered. Some families have lost loved ones. All have been affected.

This has been a time of self-examination for many of us.  It has for me. What is important?  What is my purpose?  How can I do my job better?  Why is my job important?  It is good to reflect and often you want someone to talk with about these matters. I hope you have someone.

Speaking of talking, since March 16th about forty people involved in the operations of Texas Tech Physicians have been having a Zoom meeting every workday at 8:30 AM.  We call it a huddle to remind us to keep it short! As a business meeting, it is not designed for introspection, so much—but, it is certainly designed for mutual support.

We have a lot of different people participate in the meetings from a variety departments, jobs, and perspectives.  Guests have presented items of interest. There are physicians on the call each day. We follow a simple agenda—but, people are encouraged to bring up any topic.  Kassie Waller produces a brief summary of the meeting and sends it out within minutes of the meeting’s conclusion.  We always end with the “Shout-Out of the Day” in which we honor an individual or team by name.

Recently, one of the participants made a statement, “I think during this COVID-19 crisis we are working better as a team than we ever have.” That made me think.  His statement had merit.  It was powerful. He was being honest and expressing, unprompted, how he felt.

Anyone who has watched Brene Brown’s famous TED Talk on vulnerability understands the power that is unlocked through honesty and transparency. COVID-19, where the rules seem to be rewritten every 24-hours, has caused us to be honest and transparent with each other.  (But, we still have a ways to go.) Stripes are checked at the door, so to speak.  

In our huddle, somebody has a problem—they bring it up.  Another person has a proposed solution.  Things have been fixed on the spot.  And, we are comfortable in saying, “I don’t know” to complex COVID-19 matters.

We realize there is a lot we do not know about this novel virus which has come into our midst. But, we are helping each other cope and grapple for answers.  We are saying to each other you are not alone. We are in this struggle together and we all need to be kept safe. Sharing our vulnerability reinforces an opinion that culture and relationships matter. In closing, this pandemic has produced growth—it has forced us to grow as a team. Yet, we have miles to go. And, that is OK.