November 1, 2021
lines of pink sprinkled donuts
JOE BAGADONUTS My brother-in-law Larry is a college professor who teaches aspiring nursing students. Having spent most of his career as a floor nurse and then nursing supervisor at a local hospital, he knows a thing or two about a critical part of nursing—understanding your patients. Larry was telling me about one of the techniques he uses to help his students better understand the concerns of the patient from their perspective, and I thought it had a direct application to many of us in business. Some time ago, Larry created a character he calls Joe Bagadonuts. Joe’s a simple guy who doesn’t always understand the terms or science behind his medical treatments. It’s easy for him to feel frightened and confused by medical professionals who use big words, theories, and data to describe the procedures or outcomes he can expect. He sometimes feels like an outsider in a foreign country where everyone speaks a different language. Joe may not understand that language, but he does understand compassion. When he takes on Joe’s persona, Larry asks his students simple questions that he knows their patients will want to ask but might not feel comfortable asking. “How will this procedure affect the