It took a few days to really digest everything I heard, learned, and experienced last week. Like most people, I found the first two days draining and difficult. It is a very different thing to look a parent who lost a child in the eyes after hearing the events that led to their death while realizing that you are part of that health care machine. I have experienced death many times in my career, but I think this may have been the first time where I had no choice but to feel it. The stories they told chipped away at my sturdy inner wall and let out some empathy and tears. One of the biggest takeaways is the power of stories taught by Carol. As a nurse, we are taught to tell and retell a patient’s story every day. It is how we learn about a new patient and how we hand off a patient. It is how nurses communicate. When Carol talked about how they “connect the head and the heart” it was then that I started to understand their power. The hike Wednesday was exactly what I needed after the initial emotional onslaught. Being able to physically move to release and reflect on the mountain allowed me to decompress and continue to focus on the next topics. I cannot say enough how absolutely beautiful the scenery and the mountains are! I have already started making plans of incorporating some of the games and the reflective practice content into our nurse residency program. The concept is introduced in undergrad programs but until a new nurse has actual clinical experiences they are not able to fully grasp the concept and take it forward into the rest of their career. I hope to soon report that I have been successful in implementing some of the quality improvement strategies in my institution
I was humbled by the experience and grateful for each faculty member and family that told their story.
Thank you all again for this experience.