status doesn’t equal success

It’s the beginning of the travel season for me. With that means more airports, more security checkpoints, and more lines.

I will be the first to admit that having “status” is very nice. It means shorter lines, help when issues arise, and a bit more legroom. (Good thing since I am about as a tall as smurf wearing a bowtie.)

I always find it interesting when I walk up to the security lines and see which lane people choose.

In Denver, there is the TSA Pre✅, Clear, Premium (for airline status), and the general boarding.

The TSA Pre✅ line is almost always the longest line. Yet the 5 people running to get in front of me decide to jump into the TSA Pre✅ line. I stop, pause to let them go ahead of me politely, and then proceed to use the general boarding.

You can barely see the person in the picture, but if you see the pink shirt, that was the first person that rushed to get in front of me. If you notice, this individual is still waiting to get through security.

I took this picture from the other side of security as I was about to enter the tunnel for the train to the gates.

So what?

Having “status” or a title is nice; the “status” (or title) doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to be first, be best, be successful, have the capabilities, possess the knowledge, or even do good work.

It simply means that you met the bare requirements to earn a title. To earn the status.

This is a reminder for all of us, especially those in medicine.

Organizations may earn awards, banners, or status on a specific list. Individuals may earn acronyms, rack up publications, or attain a title.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t mean that you will earn the trust of your patient.

That trust is earned when you are transparent about options, help individuals in the transition of care, and spend the time needed in order to have an open conversation.

The “status” of success in medicine is trust.

Trust, like all things in medicine, is earned at the N of 1.

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