Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Together We're Better

Many years ago when I started out in business school I was introduced to the concept of "synergy."  At that time business schools were starting to emphasize the value of effective teams.  We did many projects, case studies, and presentations as part of a team.  It seemed like a logical concept and with minimal life experience it was just something you readily accepted.  I was just there to learn, get course credit, and move on with the intent of applying this somehow in the workplace.  Did I really believe that the "whole was greater than the sum of its parts"?  I am not sure but the concept made sense and it wouldn't be until years later when I really began to understand the concept in an applied form.

Patient and family centred care has embraced the catch-phrase "together we're better."  This is just an easier and a little catchier way of conveying the concept of synergy.  How a group of people working together can achieve much more than if they were to embark on a task by themselves.  For patient families this is especially true, due to the fact that families are outsiders in the health care system.  Access to health care is one of the biggest barriers patients face.  Many of the things I have been able to provide feedback on or where I have been a part of changes has only been done by our medical team accepting us as equal partners.  In the end we have learned from each other and enriched each other.

The past few weeks have been rather rough on a few families we know.  Susan and I attended a funeral a couple weeks back of a young man who passed away recently due to cancer.  Like many who have followed my blog and our care page.  I followed their experience through their blog.  Reading someone else's experience gives you such a feeling of helplessness.

This family was very much on my mind as I spoke to nursing students at Red River College this week.  I was once again given the opportunity to share our story about Russell's transplant and Susan's heart condition.  The whole time I was thinking how through all that we had been through that the 4 of us are still intact.  We have not lost a member of our team.  We're a little battered and bruised, and we have many health challenges ahead but for today we are together.

When you hang out with some of the sickest kids in Western Canada you are taking a significant emotional risk.  Not all of the stories have happy outcomes.  These families have taught us so many lessons.  We are much different people than we were 8 years ago.  It has made the bond between the four of us much stronger.  No matter what the future holds we will go through it together because we know that we're better when we're together.

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