What I learnt this week: Bringing two worlds together #WILTW

This, the 38th #WILTW, comes in response to call out from Andy Bradley. Andy is a pretty inspirational guy and if you are ever dis-enfranchised with some of the efforts the NHS makes to motivate/engage staff I would recommend you watch his TED talk.

Andy has recently been promoting #wisdomofkindess and asks the question

“In your minds eye what does our future health and happiness look like, sound like, feel like?

How would you love it to be?”

In my initial response to the blog Andy replied with:

I sometimes feel I live between worlds. There is a the clinical world I inhabit; being physically present on the “shop-floor’ of a busy Children’s Emergency Department or as part of a clinical leadership team improving the quality of care we provide. I try to be constantly aware of the effect my emotions and biases have on other staff, parents and especially the children and young people I meet. Simply put: it’s not easy. While #hellomynameis is a reflex, other aspects of compassionate care sometimes aren’t. It’s not simple to challenge others behaviours when you have witnessed a professional interaction that is not acceptable. Maintaining persistent empathetic engagement with families can be one of the most draining aspects of my job. Do I sometimes resent it. Yes, I’ll be honest I do. I don’t think that makes my unprofessional, callous or dispassionate. I hope it makes me aware of when I do need to take a break, re-group and re-energise.

The other world is the network of individuals and groups I belong to who are championing change, within and outside of the health service. Generally via social media, but also through conferences, projects and campaigns. There is a steady flow of what some might call ‘positive energy’ but others see as mis-informed and ill-placed conjecture and eulogising. My efforts with #nhschangeday are on the public record. As it reaches its 3rd year I am proud to have been part of a movement which I do feel has engaged people in understanding how and why change can occur in any health or social care setting. The networks I have developed from this and other initiatives are supportive, inspiring and positive. I have developed insights and skills which clearly have benefited me and hopefully the patients I treat.

And yet despite this latter point it feels sometimes as if these worlds are in contradiction with each other. If you watch Andy’s videos you think – why isn’t every clinical encounter like this? Why is it that the energy I can have from one phone call on developing a new social movement can be utterly deflated during a clinical meeting a mere hour later. Idealism often crushed by the reality of some of the things that need to be overcome. So how would I like our future health and happiness to look like? For me it would be to live in just one world. One in which there doesn’t need to be a jump from what we think we should be doing to what we are doing. But I appreciate that mostly starts with me. It’s my mindset and my beliefs that predilict the energy and compassion reserves I possess. I encapsulated this a while back without realising it:

Creativity and Compassion Matrix

And while I realise the very thought of this matrix will turn off many, I hope one day to create in both worlds the possibility that: “Today can always be a good day”

What have you learnt this week? #WILTW

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