March 2017

Back in January I asked folks to share their Word for 2017. The idea behind a word of the year is to shift from a long list of new year resolutions to a word that can be a guiding light throughout your year. Focus, alignment and clarity can be achieved through a single word. Thanks everyone for sharing your word for 2017! May your word be a beacon to you and bring you focus, alignment and clarity as you touch lives in all that you do!

Despite the vast number of passionate, caring professionals out in the world, there remains a handful who miss the mark - folks who have automated the work they do so that the human aspects have all but disappeared. Let me share a story of a friend of mine's recent experience with healthcare (it's not just babies that suffer). My friend (lets call her Sally) hurt herself while she was away from home and needed surgery. Sally was naturally distressed but discovered that her nephew was the orthopedic surgeon at the hospital where she was being treated - she breathed a sigh of relief that she would be in the care of a capable, qualified professional who was also a loving member of the family.

Things took a turn for the worse when Sally met the anesthesia team who were acutely pre-occupied with finding the best vein to cannulate, paying little attention to Sally and her mounting distress. As Sally began asking questions to the anesthesiologist, she was met with curt responses that did little to belie his dismissive irritation. As she lay on the gurney, all alone in the pre-op area, Sally was unable to hold back the silent tears that rolled down her cheeks. Once the IV was secure, the nurse told Sally she would start to feel sleepy and before Sally could ask what they gave her, Sally felt her grip on consciousness slip away as she drifted off into twilight, shrouded in fear, isolation, and the unknown.

The surgery went well, thank goodness however the aftermath of the experience lingers! Sally called me a few days after she got home and recounted the details of her experience but suddenly couldn't hold back her sobs, as if retelling the event brought her right back to her fear and distress. She was overwhelmed with how vulnerable she felt at the hands of professionals who appeared indifferent to her. Sally shared feelings of isolation and a lack of not only empathy but compassion from the pre-op team. Sally described herself as an 'object of care' and not a fellow human being who was frightened, alone, in pain needing someone to show a molecule of kindness and respect to her. She chided herself for being emotional, but in truth, she had every right to be emotional.

Her experience is unfortunately all to common.

Taking care and caring well - simple words and profound implications for ALL!