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Solar Eclipse and Enlightenment

Knowledge and Understanding Bridge Fear

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 569
As I think back to current events that are fueled by radically differing world views that condone intolerance, my wish is that mutual experiences of this eclipse might serve as a shared reference point that brings together unlikely conversational partners.  While we may see the same event, our perspectives differ as do our interpretations of what we witness.  Using principles of evidence-based science and decision-making as a basis for civil discourse, we can explore the reality of varying observations and analysis; contribute to a meaningful and shared understanding of events; and avoid fueling discord, superstition, and fear.

A Balanced Life

The Challenge of Modeling Wellness

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 754

Erene Stergiopoulos is an author, an educational researcher, a decade-long cancer patient and now a third-year medical student at the University of Toronto. She recently wrote about the cloak of superhuman invulnerability that is worn by many in the helping professions.  Erene expressed eloquently how experiencing life as a patient has informed her view of healthcare and had a positive impact on her role as a future provider.  She notes that in medical education, students learn about disease, but not what it’s like to live with disease.  

Illness can serve as a crucible reminding us of the gifts of human frailty – a capacity for compassion and empathy.  

In our roles as mentors, teachers and colleagues, let’s model maintaining good health.  When we are ill, take time to heal.  When we are exhausted, make time to rest.  When we need to be replenished spiritually, seek solace. When we haven’t connected with those we care for, remember that time past is time lost. Take your vacation time and encourage your trainees to do the same.  

Life Lessons Learned from Bird Watching

Patience, Persistence and Seizing the Moment

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 691

Wildlife provides a frequent reminder of the virtues of practice, persistence, and seizing the moment. Fledgling purple martins fly in dance-like synchrony as they perfect their aeronautic skills.  In the span of one second, the blue heron shifts from prolonged and absolute stillness to a startling, almost invisible spearing of a hapless crab.   Simultaneously I witness demonstrations of beauty, patience, practice, precision, and expertise. 

On a daily basis, preceptors and trainees act with patience and model compassion in spirit, informed delivery of healthcare, and precision in action.  Trainees persist until it good practice becomes rote and can be activated immediately when needed – they develop the clinical ‘muscle memory’ skills to delivery competent healthcare upon demand.  The intent is to serve others with intelligence and competence, grace and dignity, tact and compassion.  

This is the time of year for transitions.  Purple martin fledglings fly.  Students graduate.  New residents prepare for their capstone year of professional polishing.  Novice nurse practitioners culminate their metamorphosis into confident practitioners.

 I’d like to remember and acknowledge the gift that nurse practitioners bring to healthcare.

“That’s how the light gets in”

Accreditation Shines a Light on Opportunities

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 1778

Sundials work when sunlight creates a shadow, thereby allowing us to tell time. Light and shadow are equally important.  Without the shadow, the sundial doesn’t work. Similarly, accreditation shines a light on what works, it is an overall indicator of excellence.  Equally important, accreditation is a mechanism for acknowledging the shadows -- identifying areas that are opportunities for creativity and innovation.  

Meaningful Conversations

The 3 C’s: Compassion, Confidence and Competence

Candice Rettie, PhD 2 821

It doesn’t matter if one is negotiating an international peace agreement, meeting with organizational leadership, giving feedback to a preceptor, or offering suggestions to a novice trainee, the goal of communication is threefold: to advance the conversation, to hear and be heard accurately, and to have a functional exchange between the participants.  Especially with difficult conversations it is important to be compassionate, confident and competent. Combining the 3 C's with James Ryan's five seminal questions: “Wait, What?”  “I wonder…?”  “Couldn’t we at least…?” “How can I help?” “What truly matters?” can transform the training environment.  Think about how it could inspire meetings with preceptors, make mentoring in the clinic more meaningful, or foster innovative presentations in didactic sessions.