It was 7am, and I was in professional dress, coffee in hand, headed into my first ever hospital board meeting. The executive conference room was full of CEO/COO/CFO types, the chief of pediatrics, some local politicians… power and influence. And they wanted me there, a lowly mother of four who worked just a handful of hours each week helping them understand the mind of a parent (and helping parents understand the minds of doctors and hospital staff). In many ways, my job was interpreting.
I will never forget the sick feeling in my stomach during that first presentation. The director of the Hematology/Oncology Department showed slide after slide of financials, emphasizing how much revenue their department brought into the hospital as an argument for why the hospital should invest in them more. All I could think was, “Children are suffering and dying a most horrific death. How can you talk about profit?”
But I stayed, quelled the waves of nausea, and learned that “profit” is the wrong word.