Today in a discussion about what makes an excellent clinician a colleague suggested that he didn’t like the concept of ‘excellent’ because it implied aiming to be perfect – which obviously (perhaps) one can’t achieve.
I reject this assertion.
We need some assumptions. Yes – we can’t be perfect – but we can excel.
The dictionary definition(s) of excellence is:
1. the state or quality of excelling or being exceptionally good; extreme merit; superiority
2. an action, characteristic, feature, etc., in which a person excels
I’d like to propose a different definition of excellence that ignores perfection. Being excellent means always trying to be better and to do better. I believe this is the intent of pursuing excellence in healthcare. And yes – for some of the consumers this will be a perfect outcome.