What do you get when you put 12 strangers in a room for a week, from each part of the country, (and Canada) with different backgrounds, different educations, different lifestyles but one passion – to make healthcare safer? You will probably get - safer healthcare.
This has been my experience this past week in California as I begin my year long journey as a Patient Safety Leadership Fellow at the American Hospital Association and National Patient Safety Foundation training. Using our own project to make patient care safer as an anchor for our work, we spent 4 ½ days bonding as we learned about “Gracious Space” which focuses on sharing information and accepting other's differences. We did team building that made us laugh but also recognize our own leadership skills and lack of them and we learned about each other, and how each of us are interested, in our own way, in making patient care safer which will not only improve care – but save lives.
It was an eye opening experience and the people who I have grown to adore in just a few days are all so different I have to wonder if this was planned. 11 women and a young male doctor who many of us began (s)mothering almost immediately. One Fellow with a contagious sense of humor, another with an infectious laugh and smile, another with a more serious side that is built upon years seeing the worst in healthcare. One who seems a natural mom and caretaker and another who is quiet but has an obvious charm and gentleness.
These personalities are as different as their (our) work and projects. In the year to come, we will each touch our community or healthcare system and begin to focus on the missing piece we each see as a need for our intervention in patient’s safety.
I look forward even more now to the upcoming year, though I don’t see it an easy year following our first in person meeting. I know it will be a difficult time but am committed that through this fellowship, I will make healthcare safer here at least on Long Island – if I have anything to say about it – and now I do.