Keys to Personal Success

How do I become an outstanding physician or other health professional?

John Wooden the renowned UCLA basketball coach guided his teams to 10 NCAA championships. UCLA under his leadership holds the record for longest winning streak in the history of college basketball. He is a true mid-Westerner whose life both on the court and off the court epitomized his teachings. He created the pyramid of success. A pyramid that applies not only to athletics, but virtually to any discipline. Athletic coaches throughout the country know of and have embraced his pyramid with remarkable results. Coach Wooden never focused on winning, but focused on encouraging his players to give 100%, to do their best. And that is what each health care professional needs to do everyday. Through little steps of self-improvement and by carefully developing the many characteristics required for success, we can create a winning formula that will greatly improve the care of our patients.

John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success can be applied to Medicine

Pyramid of success

The two most important cornerstones of success are industriousness and enthusiasm. In the center of the pyramid base are honesty, friendship, loyalty and cooperation. These provide the foundation for the second tier of important characteristics self-control, inquisitiveness, initiative, empathy, and compassion. If healthcare professionals can achieve these goals they will be equipped to accomplish the 6 goals established by the ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education) for the training of physicians: Medical knowledge, Practice-based learning improvement, System-based learning, Patient Care, Interpersonal and communication skills, and finally Professionalism. Gatorounds is designed to enhance your ability to achieve these 6 ACGME milestones.  One half-hour of rounds is dedicated to increasing your medical knowledge.  Pathophysiology and differential diagnosis are the primary focus of discussion during this time block. Practice-based learning is emphasized by the Gatorounds principles “learning by doing” and “game films”. Systems-based learning is the essence of Gatorounds, and this rounding system demonstrates first-hand the power of systems to improve patient care. By creating a true team approach your focus will become patient-centered rather than self-centered, and patient care will become more efficient and less error prone. Interpersonal skills and communication are emphasized through specific communication protocols, and by encouraging horizontal communication. As you achieve these first 5 competencies, you will progressively blossom into a true professional.  (adapted for medical training by F. Southwick).

Further reading: Wooden on Leadership by John Wooden and Steve Jamison, New York, McGraw-Hill, 2005, 299 p