Today was the most intense day I could possibly imagine.  We were challenged physically and emotionally to strengthen our bond as a team, to communicate honestly and effectively, and to view our patients’ stories in a deeper and more meaningful way.  Our hike today was confidence boosting, fun, and strengthened our friendships into ones that will last forever!  I also enjoyed the way Dr. Sherwood made us all think about ways to see our patients differently than what is easy or obvious.  Her distinction between Reflective Practice and Righteous Indignation made me laugh!

Carole’s presentation of Connecting the Heart and the Head has changed the way I think of the families of the babies in my care for the rest of my career.  While I have always loved my babies and felt honored to be entrusted with them by their parents, I have always kept an emotional distance.  My mindset had become “bad things happen to good people”.  My goal was always to keep my babies safe and to provide high quality care, but I had not connected how a loss could affect parents like I did today.  The way Carole told this story was powerful.  I wanted the adorable girl in the pictures to be ok…But when I found out that this is Carole’s daughter I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  We have spent days getting to know Carole…Such a fun person that loves everyone and that we all love to be around.  And she is so uplifting to everyone in every way including allowing Alyssa to teach us to become the nurses, doctors, and leaders in health care that our patients deserve.  My entire life and career changed today thanks to Alyssa.  And even more importantly, my patients and their parents will benefit from this knowledge.  I will make sure the nurses and staff I lead benefit from Alyssa’s story as much as I have.  I have a new desire and need to feel the emotions parents are feeling, whether that is fear, frustration, sadness, or even anger because I want to understand what they are truly saying to me.  I am now aware that this is the only way I can completely and safely care for my patients.  It is not possible to put into words how much Carole’s willingness to be so open in order to benefit future patients means to me and how deeply my patient care and leadership style will be affected.  Carole, I truly want to thank you for letting Alyssa help so many people in such a profound way.