Be a Leader. Make a Difference

By Dan Rohrbach, Southwest Health CEO

I feel like I am not fully helping Southwest Health reach our vision of “Creating a Healthier Southwest Wisconsin.”  I feel I can do more.  I feel I should be using the platform and position I am in to make a difference.  Over the past several years, I have watched as we all continue to become more and more dependent on our electronics.  First thing in the morning, last thing before bed and everything in-between.  Is that healthy?  The experts say no.  Our brains need time to rest and take a break from the information overload.

Am I saying turn off your electronics and go back in time to when we used to look up facts in the encyclopedia?  Well, not exactly. My point is that with our current dependence on electronics, we have become careless with our choices, like texting and driving. The position I am taking is turn it off WHILE you are driving.  We are all guilty.  I have heard, “Well I don’t text and drive that much.”  That is like saying, “I don’t drink and drive every day, just most days.”  It’s not safe to do it at all.

Is it worth it?  Do the people who care about you really care if your text comes through or rather you make it to your destination safely?  Personally, I didn’t think much about it until a few years ago.  I was riding my motorcycle through town when I was almost struck by a car making a left turn on a green light as I was going straight from the oncoming direction.  As I narrowly avoided the crash, the individual had no idea what had happened.  They never looked up from their phone.

We all think we are invincible, but working in healthcare now for 23 years I can assure you, we are not.  I am terrified when I hear sirens thinking, is it my kid in that accident, someone I know, someone I care about?  I am not talking from direct experience of either being in an accident or causing an accident due to my inattentive driving.  For that, I am lucky.

I have three young adult children in my family; I am not 100% convinced that I have completely persuaded them that they need to follow my lead but I am taking that position.  Don’t do as I say, do as I do! They see me making a stand and taking the lead and if nothing else, it makes them aware of the danger.

I know it is difficult to ignore an incoming text.  That’s why if you send me a text and I am driving, you will get a message from my do not disturb function that will say, “I’m driving and will see your message when I get where I am going.”

We as healthcare professionals can take a stand.  Parents can take a stand.  Teachers, coaches, business leaders, we can all take a stand.  None of us can do it alone.  I have taken the stand:  I will no longer text and drive!  Will you join me?

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