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Feeling Stressed?

Control what you can and move on

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 345

Our flight finally landed, an hour and a half late. Everyone was eager to get off, especially the family ahead of me, parents with three young sons who looked to be between 5 and 9 years old.  As they gathered their belongings, the middle boy was becoming increasingly anxious. The father said, very calmly, “Control what you can, and ignore the rest. Just control what you can.” I don’t know if it helped his son, but it resonated with me. I would tweak it just a bit so it becomes: Control what you can, plan for the unexpected and move on. What a great way to navigate everyday stresses.

We’ve all had those days, or weeks, or months. Yet, generally, we can embrace the challenge, figure out what we can control, create workarounds, and move forward – a duck paddling madly underwater while, seemingly serenely, progressing upstream against the current. There are days when we may get uncomfortably close to reasoned panic. Panic breeds chaos. Knowing what you can control and owning that responsibility fosters order and accomplishment.  As the father on the plane told his son, control what you can and move on.

Tipping Point

Taking Off

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Nearly two decades ago, the Canadian journalist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the concept of “tipping point,” in his bestselling book of the same name. According to Gladwell, the tipping point is the notion of being “in a place where the unexpected becomes expected, where radical change is more than a possibility.  It is – contrary to all our expectations – a certainty.”

I see indicators of radical change regarding NP postgraduate training at every level: individual, organizational, and, perhaps most importantly, national.

Hope Transforms

2018 Holiday Season

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 530
Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to the editor of The New York Sun in 1897 is timeless. “Please tell me the truth.  Is there a Santa Claus?” she asked.  Her letter is based in hope, and a belief in something that can’t be seen.  And that, contrary to what some might say, doing good is rewarded by more good acts—like presents under the tree!  Let’s celebrate our collective and personal hopes and beliefs in all that is good.  Let’s continue to transform healthcare through our belief that access to excellent healthcare is a right for all.

The Importance of a Nurturing Learning Environment

Lessons Learned from Loggerhead Turtles

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This past summer, in a blog I wrote about the importance of learning and working environments, I mentioned the recommendations from the Macy Foundation’s April conference, “Improving Environments for Learning in the Health Professions.” Amy Barton, a panelist at the Consortium’s own conference in June, was an invited participant at the Macy Foundation event.

I was curious about what struck her the most about the discussions at the Macy Conference.  It was definitely a high-level discussion, she noted, revolving around analyzing commissioned papers about theories of learning and instruction. But what impressed her the most was the persistent focus on the social component of learning—on community—and on the importance of creating environments that are nurturing.

I asked Amy to join me and write a blog about these ideas.  She begins by talking about loggerhead turtles (!); describes the four characteristics of learning environments; relates all that to the Johns Hopkins Civility Project; and wraps it up with a closing quote from the conference.

Mentoring in Action

Box of Chocolates

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 640
We’ve all had horrible days.  In this longer-than-usual post, I’d like to share an extraordinary example of mentorship that was forwarded to me. 

Dr. Dan Wilensky responds electronically to a trainee who recently wrote in her online reflective journal about a particularly difficult day.  Dan is a family practice physician, an active primary care provider for 15 years.  He is Chief of Preceptors for Community Health Center, Inc.’s  Nurse Practitioner Residency program and preceptor trainer for CHC’s remotely hosted NP postgraduate training programs across the country.  He is widely respected for his clinical expertise, wisdom and empathy.  

Dan’s response is a superb example of how technology--when it is thoughtfully integrated with clinical practices and learning environments--can create a private, personal and safe learning space.  Mentoring occurs in many ways, using many media; technology can and should enhance and deepen this essential hallmark of postgraduate NP training.

Do Dan's words strike a chord?  Read more and judge for yourself.