Video Transcript: Sherry Liang: Open School Change Agent of the Year

Sherry Liang, Medical Student, 2017 IHI Open School Change Agent of the Year

I went on a hike with Dr. Don Berwick. We had a conversation together on the hike where I shared an experience about me as a medical scribe. This was back in college as an undergraduate, and I had felt really uncomfortable with how physicians were doing their charting practices. Essentially, I was kind of coerced into doing these work arounds in the electronic health record and they didn't reflect the actual patient experience. There was essentially a lot of fraud that I witnessed as a scribe.

In response to that story, Dr. Don Berwick asked me, "What did you do?" And in that moment all I could say was that I did nothing. Because I didn't have that will or feel empowered to speak up and share my concerns. I didn't have the skills or the knowledge to know how to effectively contribute to a team and to uphold that culture of safety.

Since then, I've been really lucky to be part of the Open School, and through all the knowledge that I've gained and through all the people that I've met and all the skills that I've acquired and learned through what the Open School has offered me, I feel much more confidant in confident in contributing through patient care by bringing up my concerns when I feel like they need to be brought up for the patient's fairness and justice. I've learned so much from the open school about always listening to the patient first: putting them first, and always asking what matters to them, and having that guide our decision in taking care of them.

One of the other reasons why my conversation with Dr. Don Berwick was so powerful was that he was essentially the first person who had said to me that my experience was unjust. And I think that's an important moment to honor and to acknowledge because sometimes that simple statement of telling someone that what you're experiencing is wrong — what you're experiencing is unfair, and what you're experiencing is a failure of the system — is sometimes one statement that can liberate them to see the world differently and to see their power differently.

We can't make changes to the system on a large level every day, but as a change agent, as a student, I feel like we can use our privilege and our knowledge and our confidence that we gain from being part of this IHI Open School community to make that difference with one patient at a time.