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If Disney Ran Your Hospital 91/2 Things You Would Do Differently

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’ If you do read it, you will find that you will think differently about much of what you currently do.’

Title: If Disney Ran Your Hospital 91/2 Things You Would Do Differently: Cultural Insights From a Hospital Executive Who Became a Disney Cast Member.

Author: Fred Lee

Publisher: Second River Healthcare Press

Reviewer: Claire McGuigan, practice education coordinator for Nursing & Midwifery, Northern Health & Social Care Trust. Northern Ireland

What was it like?

With a title like “If Disney Ran Your Hospital 91/2 Things You Would Do Differently” I defy anyone not to be a little intrigued. This is an excellent book, it’s extremely thought-provoking as it challenges many of our pre-conceived ideas about the way we deliver care and asks us to open our minds to what is possible.

The thrust of the book is that if you subscribe to and adopt “Disney’s approach to quality service” in the health care industry then patients would feel more cared for, staff would feel more valued and organisations would operate successful cultures to deliver effective high quality person centred services and sustain its workforce.

My initial reaction was one of huge scepticism. But bit by bit I began to realise that, if you accept some of the author’s premises – and he advocates for them effectively through real life experiences and examples - it is possible to do what he suggests, change the way we think and consciously use appropriate words in all our interactions, then positive changes can be sustained. For example “I am closing the curtains to respect your dignity and privacy while you get washed”. In choosing the right words the patient’s awareness and rationale for this behaviour has been raised.

What were the highlights?

The book is divided up into ten chapters all of which flow logically and are interconnected. The chapter on “Making courtesy more important than efficiency” is particularly thought-provoking. There are four areas of constant quality management at Disney – Safety, Courtesy, Show, Efficiency- but nothing at Disney is more important than safety.

Safety and efficacy are not new terms in healthcare but “Courtesy” is Disney’s number two quality indicator! Where do we rate this and how do we measure this old social norm in modern healthcare?

The Disney show relates to everything that makes a sensory impression. When customers are satisfied at Disney there are no stories, all is as expected. It’s the unexpected that is memorable.

Fred Lee offers a useful model – Three Levels of Caring- competence, caring and compassion that correlates staff motivation, performance and patient evaluation based upon Disney principles. He advocates that all staff are adequately prepared for these roles.

Strengths & Weaknesses:

Disney’s global success is attributed to its consistency in the day-day execution of universally shared values and commonly desired behaviours. It is suggested that if Disney ran your hospital, nurses would believe that they are judged not so much by the standard of other nurses in similar settings, but against the standards set by the nicest people giving services anywhere.

Who should read it?

I recommend this book to all healthcare workers from the CEO to frontline staff regardless of discipline, students of nursing in particular, curriculum planners, lecturers and education commissioners. If you do read it, you will find that you will think differently about much of what you currently do; in fact you will think about the way you think and the language you use and begin to see a new way of delivering care.

disney cover

disney cover


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