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Transport Team Series: Birds of a Feather

Like all relationships, compatibility with your partner is a necessity.  Personality conflicts can destroy the strongest of teams.  During transport, that relationship needs to stay professional yet it needs to be sensitive, knowing that each one of us brings different attributes to keep balance.   

Finding Balance
This balance isn’t only affected by the three crew members on the call, but also the patient, family, referring facility and receiving staff.  With so many potential personality conflicts, educating ourselves to recognize these issues and keep interactions positive can improve the stressful transition for everyone involved.

Hippocrates divided people into four personality groups.  These groups are still used today and have been likened to birds: eagles, doves, parrots, and owls.  We make a living triaging patients, placing them into groups based on acuity and referring facility resources.  

Team Balance
If grouping these patients is necessary to provide appropriate resources, why wouldn’t we do the same?   Pointing out our differences to separate ourselves may initially seem like a bad idea, but it can teach us how to be respectful of each others uniqueness.  

During one of our team-building sessions, our presenter taught us how to discover our true bird-selves through a temperament quiz.  

After taking the quiz twice, once for home and once for work, we were surprised to find most people wear different feathers for each.  We also discussed how the personality we give off may be different that the one we believe we are.  

We designed cute colorful buttons to showcase our bird personalities, and to serve as an easy identifier to others.  

In learning about our own traits, we actually learned about how to understand and react to birds of another feather.  This knowledge can help keep our negative emotions in check when we see the parrot as obnoxious, the owl as critical, the eagle as insensitive, or the dove as lazy.  These key principles improve interpersonal relationships and capitalize on personal strengths.

Strength in Balance
Although we spent the day discovering all the ways that make us different, the reality is there are personality traits that are imperative to keep us focused and forward-moving during critical transports.  We must be the decisive eagle, the helpful dove, the social parrot, and the inquisitive owl all rolled into one.  

"We must be one super-bird that brings specialty care to children around the world before they ever step foot in All Children’s."  

By combining positives of all four birds, we are much more likely to provide the best experience to all involved.  Being similar in these ways is perhaps what has drawn us to this job, but it is our ability to be that super-bird without sacrificing our unique qualities that truly defines us.  It’s best said in a line from one of my favorite songs, “Since the beginning, to keep the world spinning, it takes all kinds of kinds.”

- Megan


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