Health & Fitness

What healthcare managers can get from basketball

NBA

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrates winning the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award after defeating the Phoenix Suns in Game Six to win the 2021 NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum on July 20, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. PHOTO | JONATHAN DANIEL | AFP

Summary

  • When victory is achieved, the results are celebrated as a team. Similarly, if the team suffers a loss, it is shouldered by all, right from the coach to the water-boy.
  • Healthcare management challenges are a dynamic process wherein the interactions and relationships simultaneously affect and are shaped by the whole system.
  • The real value of complex adaptive systems thinking in healthcare is that healthcare managers can then make positive outcomes and impacts by influencing these contexts and relationships.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) league in the US has reached its penultimate stage; the play-offs. Herein, the Phoenix Suns are facing off with the Milwaukee Bucks for the NBA championship. Founded in 1946, the NBA has, over time, presented basketball greats such as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, and the late Kobe Bryant.

These legends have cemented their places in history by showing us what grit, commitment, dedication embroidered together by team work can achieve.

In televised NBA games, viewers are usually treated to a deep peak into the kind of conversations that occur among team members during a league game. A random player in the team is usually selected and tapped with a microphone to relay ongoing conversations to the television audience.

A careful listening brings to the fore the true spirit and definition of goal-oriented team work. Often, players are overheard encouraging each other both while in the field of play and on the team bench towards pushing limits to attain victory.

Certainly, this sort of camaraderie contributes to the extra-ordinary athleticism that viewers of the NBA are treated to. Older and more experienced players urge on the younger and in-experienced players, helping them traverse through their innate stage frights. And when victory is achieved, the results are celebrated as a team. Similarly, if the team suffers a loss, it is shouldered by all, right from the coach to the water-boy.

This esprit de corps is applicable to healthcare management as well. Healthcare systems and organisations follow the path of what is referred to as complex adaptive systems. This means that healthcare management challenges are a dynamic process wherein the interactions and relationships simultaneously affect and are shaped by the whole system.

The real value of complex adaptive systems thinking in healthcare is that healthcare managers can then make positive outcomes and impacts by influencing these contexts and relationships.

Healthcare management often involves the formation of various teams that aggregate around specific challenges or problems. For example, a hospital’s operating theatre team aggregates around a need to provide high-quality surgical services in the hospital setting.

This operating theatre team is usually comprised of staff of varied cadres who all play a critical role in the surgical outcomes of patients. This includes the surgeons, anesthesiologists, peri-operative nurses, porters all the way to the cleaners.

When positive outcomes result, the whole team ought to celebrate together and when negative outcomes result, the burden ought to be shouldered by the entire team.