This year has been incredibly life-changing for so many people, for so many reasons. Just when you think it can’t get any more difficult, we are faced with another challenge.
I am a resident of Minneapolis, MN. A few weeks ago, our city was the center stage with many voices speaking on the topics of neglect and injustice. The pain for so many, for so long could no longer be ignored. Members of our community came out in support. Silently in the backdrop of all hurt, there were hundreds of community members taking steps to support their neighbors and friends. This is the community I know and love.
As a little girl, I grew up taking small trips to the Twin Cities and always had a glow in my eyes when I saw the beautiful skyline of Minneapolis. Like many, I came here for college and I fell in love up close. After graduating from the University of St. Thomas I started working for a health system called HealthPartners. During my time there, I was exposed to the needs and inner workings of our clinical education community. I was in awe of the work being done to ensure future clinicians had the proper training to take care of me and my loved ones.
It was eye-opening to see the clinical education community and the many ways it influences the future of healthcare. What we teach our future care teams today can give us a solid idea of what tomorrow’s care will look like. Like many who “stumbled” upon this space in our eco-system, I was intrigued and haven’t been able to shake the belief that THIS is where I can help make real change.
I started Clinician Nexus 4 years ago, and while some call it a startup it’s my way of serving my community. I believe that investing in how we train clinicians today has a real opportunity to be a catalyst for the change we need.
Here are three ways that I believe our healthcare system can work together to activate the community-building power of clinical education:
- Invest in education as a collaborative force, not a competition.
I don’t mean “invest” financially in this instance. I mean invest our collective energy by reflecting on the role education has played in our own lives, how it has shaped who we are and what we do. In western culture, education is most often thought of as a required event to move on to the “real world.” When we step back from the performance game we’ve created and view education as an evolutionary process, we can step away from being “right” and instead focus on the best outcomes for all, something our healthcare system greatly values.
- Follow through with compassion to build trust.
The most important lessons students are learning today are not found in a textbook or lab. They are happening all around them in the real world. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is a phrase made famous by Mark Fields, president of Ford. That phrase reflects my belief that it is the little moments when a student makes a mistake, and how his or her educator reacts, that teaches volumes in how to treat others, mistakes and all. Each of these moments is an opportunity to design the culture. What do we want to pass down to our future clinician workforce? What do their small actions at the bedside teach patients?
- Humbly accept your own mistakes and build each other up as people.
Countless times I have chosen comfort over change for myself. I’ve been a part of the problem by giving in to my fear of the unknown rather than authentically connecting with others from diverse backgrounds. Words are a powerful tool that can build up or tear down others. I will use mine to build up those around me, especially those who have different experiences than I do. I am going to work on walking humbly into the unknown experiences that are needed to build up our community.
Like many others, I’m choosing to put a stake in the ground and say that I see all of you in pain. I see your hurt. I’m committed to being a part of the solution, and I’m ready to do the work ahead of us.
Let’s do this together, and I truly love you.