“It’s the System”

I needed a few days after being at Telluride Summer Camp to let the experience settle in. It was a whirlwind of heart-wrenching stories, connections, and thought-provoking discussions. As a second-year resident, I came to Telluride with the baggage of a traditionally difficult intern year, with the baggage of having lost my grandfather due to a multitude of systematic medical errors, and the viewpoint of having been a nurse prior to medical school. I needed to see a room full of people that don’t accept the phrase, “that’s just the system we’re in.” I had grown tired and had half-way accepted that answer, so it’s amazing to see the influence that a group full of inspired professionals can do. Every time I spoke to someone new I was blown away by their dedication and drive. Every person in that room, from all types of training and different parts of the country, cared very deeply about improving delivery of care for patients and taking care of each other as caregivers. There were not enough hours in the day for me to sit down and discover the unique backgrounds, impressive work, and innovative ideas that each person had to share. Empathy seems to be the common denominator that brought this group together. They were all deeply caring people who could not help but suffer when they came across the failures of our health systems. Highly empathetic people (most people in healthcare) need this type of nurturing environment to keep that part of themselves alive.  I’ve been re-energized and will reach out to find similar people at my own hospital, and see how far we can go.