Monday, October 3, 2011

Gift Reflections

Chicago Skyline as seen in the Cloud Gate -  Millennium Park
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4: 11-13(NIV)

There are real concerns about the ethics of gift-giving in healthcare, particularly when it has financial implications that are hidden and impact the patient without their knowledge or consent.  I would propose that there are other gifts that although frequently unseen are critically important to our vocation.  
We have been raised in an educational culture and have grown to believe that this is what sustains us.  Tactical educational responses of self-reflection, a mentor/coach or a new organization are proposed. *    What has surprised me are those unexpected gifts that have been critical to the direction of my life.  
One of those gifts is in "seeing again" that is more than self-reflection.  What became “common” leads to a kind of “blindness”.  We need to see again what we are doing.  Seeing again for me, has happened with “healing agent” children giving me the opportunity to revisit my vocation.  "Seeing again" is being a mentor or responding to a need in a new organization.
In another report, Atul Gawande, reports the importance of the gift of “other eyes”.**  The “other eyes” sees things that are difficult for the author/surgeon to see when he is focused in the performance of surgery.  A trusted senior colleague was the basis for finding a professional coach.  He reports that this new set of eyes was the way he is now seeing and responding to the hazards and challenges in the operating room. 
There is another gift that goes unstated and that is the gift of being invited into a trusting relationship with another suffering individual.   I have been blessed to be able to practice medicine for the last 44 years and involved in the education of healing agents and the recipient of the trust of patients.   That gift of “trust” is sometimes “earned”, but mostly one that is a freely given.  Like Atul Gawande, I have been blessed by relationships that have been gifts.  

*O'Connor M.  Walker JK. The dynamics of curriculum design, evaluation, and revision. Quality improvement in leadership development. Nursing Administration Quarterly.  27(4):290-6, 2003 Oct-Dec.
*Gaiser RR. The teaching of professionalism during residency: why it is failing and a suggestion to improve its success. Anesthesia & Analgesia.  108(3):948-54, 2009 Mar.
**Gawande A. Personal Best, October 3, 2011,  The New Yorker

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