Friday, January 12, 2007


Some time ago I received notice that I must attend a seminar at our hospital entitled "Agenda for Enterprise Visioning and Action Planning - Developing the A3 Transformation Roadmap." What? I was given no more information about the seminar initially, and I didn't really know what it was about. I guessed that it has to do with learning to plan for a department or something like that. Recently I received the agenda for the two day seminar, and I still don't really know what the thing is about, because the jargon used in it is simply incredible.

The agenda is divided into four columns. Each agenda item has an entry in each of the columns. The columns are entitled: Time - I know what that means; Action - okay; Deliverable - huh? and Responsible - it tells us who is supposed to do it. Under the action column one of the entries is "Paradigm and Core of Transformation." A sample Deliverable entry is "Training on using quality function deployment to prioritize high leverage improvement areas." Frankly, they couldn't make this less understandable if they tried.

And I suspect they did try to make it difficult to understand. I've seen these kind of lectures before, ones that try to improve management skills (I think that's what this is about), and they usually employ this type of gobbledygook language. It seems they use big terms to make it sound important or scientific, to try to make their information seem to have more substance than it really does. If this is like other seminars I've been to, they'll have about two hours worth of information to present in eight hours.

Maybe you're thinking that a physician has no right to complain about jargon, that doctors take the cake for using difficult to understand words. It's true, we do use a lot of medical language that lay people might not understand. (Someone once told me that the purpose of the first two years of medical school is to teach you the language.) There's a difference, though. We use big words to make communication more efficient. If we didn't use words like bronchopulmonary dysplasia and postprandial cerebral hypoperfusion we'd have to describe what those entities are each time we refer to them, and that would take forever. I'll admit that sometimes we use a fancier word than necessary - like metastasize instead of spread - but most of time there's a decent reason for the medical jargon.

I wish I could say I'm looking forward to doing Deliverables like Prioritize Value Streams against the Key Measures, but it will likely be a long day. (To make matters worse, the agenda says at times we have to break into small groups. I hate small groups.) Oh well. It shouldn't be too strenuous, and in the end I'll know how to Re-cap the Transformation Plan of Care. Yippee!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about some Internet jargon for you?

I LMAO at today's entry.


7:00 PM  
Anonymous Helen Harrison said...

How about:

"Charged Artifacts and the Detonation of Liminality: Teddy Bear Diplomacy in the Newborn Incubator Machine"

This is the title of a paper published in an academic journal. I have it, and similar others, in a file entitled "bad writing."

Give me good honest medical terminology any day!

8:02 PM  
Blogger Bardiac said...

I bet someone will also read aloud from the bullet points of their power point "presentation."

9:52 PM  
Blogger Misti said...

Ew...I hate that! I would fall asleep. I have to attend monthly Medicare conferences. I'd rather chew off my own arm.

10:10 PM  
Blogger WendyLou said...

My favorite medical jargon.... SOB. Just love that one.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Ex Utero said...

item 7 under the heading "Peter Principle":

Force senior faculty to cross train in other areas of expertise, particularly those that are highly intricate, have little application to their orginal specialy and have their own complex vocabulary.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:12 PM  
Blogger preemiemum said...

Want a laugh??

I was once accused of being clinical by a "professional" about my son, because I could list his IVH's ROP, BPD, that medical jargon we parents learn......sometimes it really does feel like you can't win.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Candy said...

Just found your blog by way of a charity crafter that also makes things for NICU and bereavement items. I can't wait to look around at your blog more. I think I'll start with the beginning.

Btw, we lost our 2nd daughter born 15 wks premature from NEC. I wish that beast could be stopped!!!

3:49 PM  
Blogger neonataldoc said...

Thanks, all. I LMAO at the comments.

Candy, NEC is a bad, bad beast. We're trying to get better at preventing it. My sympathies to you in the loss of your daughter.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is definately management speak. I love your blog. It tends to send me off on large writing jags for my PhD....thanks!

8:56 PM  
Anonymous poptart said...

I work in a law firm and I get the same type of brochures. Luckily I am usually not required to attend. Oh, and ditto on "small groups". More like "waste of time".

9:17 AM  
Anonymous medrecgal said...

Very interesting post, made me laugh, because I've been practically bathed in medical terminology since I was born. I've always been a very informed patient and physicians and other healthcare providers know they can't hide behind their fancy words with this patient. And you should have seen the lady who was teaching a course in medical terminology I took as part of my HIT/Medical Records degree. She'd never seen the likes of me, and I had a 99%.

Love your blog, BTW; reading as not only an allied health person, but as a former 34-weeker from 30-some years ago who wasn't expected to live. These days I'm sure I'd be comparatively huge in size, but they'd probably still have controversies from other problems I had.

2:00 PM  

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