So You Want to Go Linear?

You’ve heard people talk about linear, decision guides, and shared decision making.

Maybe you’ve read another article in this edition of the PMC Advisor.  Maybe you watched the video from last month. You’re convinced. But it isn’t rocket surgery. Right?

Do you really need training?

Can’t you just access the Ottawa Decision Guide and get your team to start using it? Ministry dollars are hard to come by, and stewardship is critical. Is it really necessary to invest in training to transition to a linear shared decision making platform?

You could try to reinvent the wheel. Or in this case, the shared decision-making platform.

Sounds like you’ve got a decision to make…

We asked Ellen Dudney, Robin Fuller, and Jay-Tea Leggett what they would say if someone asked them…(two executive directors and one center director from OH, OR, and MS)

Robin shared how she first went to a linear training with many other PMCs about 8 or 9 years ago. She explained how she learned a lot and brought it back and “tried to translate to staff, but lost pieces along the way. We weren’t doing all we could or should do in the process.” Robin also explained how they dumbed down the decision tool and never used it the way Connie taught them.

Just this spring, Robin and her PMC had Connie and Steven come to their clinic in Grants Pass, OR, so that their whole team and board could be involved in the training.

As Robin put it, “It’s critical to get the board to understand what the staff is doing.”

Robin also said, “Many may think they are linear, but they’re not.”

Similarly, Jay-Tea Leggett shared how they knew they wanted to change to linear for a couple of years before they went through training. Their ED, Barbara Beavers, had shared how times were changing, and that they needed to change too—“not our purpose or our mission, but our methods to people who think differently.”

Jay-Tea said as they looked at options, it felt overwhelming. She said the linear training with Connie was great because she is such a great observer and gives such great feedback. “Having Connie here, involved personally, seeing the office dynamics and watching how things were progressing, asking us how things were working…”

Likewise, Ellen Dudney explained how there are specific skills that have to be learned with how to use the decision guide—how to ask open-ended questions. “It’s not just a matter of a static piece of paper. You have to know how to go down the road of exploring, knowing what information would be helpful, and how to train volunteers to use those.”

Ellen also described how that there’s more to going linear than just adding a decision guide—that it’s specific for the PMC—and it’s typically a culture change and a complete overhaul.

As she put it, “We really are a medical clinic. It looks and feels like a medical clinic. It’s so neat to see the transformation.”

Ellen said they still have lay volunteers, but they try to have RNs on-site all the time. They also have junior and senior level nursing students volunteering, functioning in nursing role to do medical histories and patient education.

If you would like to learn more about Sparrow’s LSDM training course, click here. For more information, contact Rhonda Kline at 702-925-8737, or you may email her directly at

Reni Bumpas
Sparrow Solutions Consultant
Dyersburg, TN

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