In service to the patient – Paul McNamara, nurse

There’s a cool Canadian band called Arcade Fire. One of the things that makes them cool is their eclectic and varied instrumentation.

Track two is standard guitar-driven rock. Track five features mandolin, recorder and banjo. The song that follows features piano accordion, trombone and hurdy-gurdy.

Arcade Fire’s frontman was asked about how decisions about instrumentation were made. He replied that it wasn’t about individual musicianship or ego. Decisions about who played what instrument were made by what made the song sound best. He said that the band members were all in service to the song.

Replace the musicians with clinicians, instruments with our varied skill sets, and the song with the patient.

We’re all in service to the patient.

When we get it right the GP, the mental health nurse, the emergency doctors and nurses, and the allied health clinicians aren’t individuals trying to be solo rock stars.

When we get it right we’re playing together as a band. That’s the way to make the health service sing.

2 thoughts on “In service to the patient – Paul McNamara, nurse

Add yours

  1. I must agree with you Paul McNamara. In today’s society we, healthcare professionals as service providers, need to be more aware of how much the average patient is now empowered with so much more knowledge than in the past. The internet is both a blessing and a curse for us. It is, however, in my opinion essential for us all to adapt to the increase in knowledge by doing what I hear so often commented on in my clinic; collaborate more.

    As a therapist I learn what patients really think about the disagreements and non collaborative efforts they encounter.

    Things are changing for sure, however, not rapidly enough for the people we are here to help.

    Fourteen years ago when I opened my therapy clinic, after 4 years of study, I sent out a letter introducing myself and my services to every doctor here on the Gold Coast, Queensland. Not one reply was received.

    Things have changed over the years and there are now many who will inform their patients about the services I provide. It did take effort though. Asking permission to contact their main healthcare provider with information on the work my clients, as I call them, and I collaboratively and successfully did.

    I believe it’s this consistent contact with each other is what helped develop the trust between the doctors clinics and mine.

    I would like to encourage other therapists to do the same, to ensure we build collaborative efforts to provide a more rounded approach to improving our patients/clients overall well-being.
    And that after all is said and done is what all of our services and efforts are about; the individuals we help.
    I have been following the MJA newsletter for years and commenting, so I was delighted to see that bridgebuilders is featured!


Please leave a reply!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: