Ten thoughts I've had about health from kids movies

This isn’t my usual type of learning topic, but I feel like I need some colour and lightness to brighten my week. Can’t really get brighter or more colourful than cartoons, right?

Being a parent of small children I spend more time watching cartoon movies than intellectually stimulating documentaries…so I’m going with what’s readily available to me. Besides, I’m a believer that you can learn from anything if you’ve got the right mindset.

Here are some thoughts about the healthcare system/being a healthcare professional, derived from kids movies…

Wreck it Ralph

Felix is an expert fixer. He is very busy. People love him for this. He is rewarded with celebrity status and shiny new tools. Why not talk to Ralph about why he keeps wrecking stuff? Invest upstream?

Our healthcare system is fixated on fixing things. We need to shift the culture to value preventative care and invest in upstream initiatives

Lion King
Not all partnerships an organisation enters into are for the good of the people. Scar’s deal with the hyenas was definitely not. Nala needed to take a risk to make things better.

Grassroots solutions are critical to addressing wicked problems in healthcare, even when the organisation isn’t corrupt. Bottom-up approaches supported by top-down strategy is best, but it’s not always the reality we’re living in. What then?

“Conceal, don’t feel” doesn’t end well. Good things happened for Elsa once she’d acknowledged and embraced her personal traits rather than trying to be what people expected her to be…“let it go” and all that.

Healthcare workers are human, not robots. That humanness is what makes us effective, but it also makes us vulnerable. It’s ok to need guidance in how to navigate this. It’s also ok if you’re not like everybody else. Diversity matters and needs to be nurtured.

Moana had to choose - stay on her island like she was supposed to do and watch it rot, or go against her parents wishes and teach herself how to sail.

Comfort zones can shift even if you stay in the same spot. In healthcare our context is always changing, it’s only the pace of change that varies. You can’t control the change but you can control your response. Get moving before your safety zone is moved away from you involuntarily.

The Incredibles
It’s not always the big hero with the most experience that saves the day. Mr Incredible tried to do that and he needed his family to save him. Don’t let ego get in the way of accepting help from the equivalent of the angsty teenager if they’ve got the skills you need.

Toy Story
Buzz and Woody didn’t like each other when they first met. It was only because they both wanted to get back to Andy that they worked together.

You don’t have to like everyone you work with. Unite on purpose and keep focus on that. If you end up being besties after a while, cool, but it’s not essential.

Beauty and the Beast
The Beast held Belle prisoner in exchange for letting her father go. Belle was kind to the Beast and built a relationship with him. In doing so, she was eventually set free.

Gatekeepers are everywhere in health, and they can be quite beastly at times. Show them kindness and understanding and you might be able to find some freedom to do your work. (Not endorsing the romancing bit!)

(as an aside, possibly one of the most under-rated kids movies of all time)
The Stonekeeper tried to keep the Yeti’s safe by protecting them from the real world and exiling anyone who went against their rules and discouraging people from being curious. Total paternalistic model.

Ostracising people with divergent views doesn’t make them disappear, it just shifts them underground. High functioning societies aren’t built on dogma and oppression.

Kung Fu Panda
Once Po discovers “there is no secret ingredient” he is able to embrace his talent and stop trying to be like the others.

Everyone has talent and skills that can be nurtured and developed even if they don’t fit the stereotype. It’s attitude, not pedigree that matters.

Monsters Inc
Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Mistakes happen. If it does, take responsibility. (Hopefully the regulatory body will be more supportive of you than in the movie though!)

Ok, that’s it for now. There are some noticeable absences though which I’m sure my children would be quick to point out. If you’ve got any to add, hit the reply button…