A personal message to our members from Robin Youngson, CoFounder of Hearts in Healthcare.
In the last year Hearts in Healthcare has reached some major milestones:
- Our social networks are expanding rapidly. Our Facebook and Twitter posts now reach five to ten times the audience, compared to the beginning of the year. We have nearly 100,000 views on YouTube.
- Groups in Saudi Arabia, the USA and Australia have been using our ‘Reawakening Purpose’ workshop. Numerous health services and academic institutions around the world are using material from ‘TIME TO CARE’ and our YouTube videos.
- A growing number of public hospitals in New Zealand are asking us to visit and to work with their staff
- My book, ‘TIME TO CARE’ is published in Dutch, and the German edition will be launched in 2016. In India, sponsors are sending a free copy of ‘TIME TO CARE’ to 2,200 doctors.
- The medical professions are embracing compassion. We’re speaking to groups in GP training, medical education, integrative medicine, obstetrics & gynaecology, anaesthetics, psychiatry and paediatrics. My own College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) issued a media release following my recent conference presentation.
- We’ve helped catalyzed a wide range of compassion projects across an entire city in the USA – Louisville, Kentucky. For instance the University of Louisville, School of Medicine, recently signed the international Charter for Compassion and is developing compassion programs for both undergraduates and faculty.
- We facilitated and presented at a three-day conference on “Healing Presence” for 150 senior health executives.
- The New Zealand Ministry of Health asked me to give the keynote opening address at a national quality improvement workshop.
- The Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has invited me to present at the international Quality Improvement Forum in the Middle East.
While the nursing and allied health professions have long supported Hearts in Healthcare, what’s significant in the last year is that mainstream medical professions, health executives, quality improvement groups and government departments are now wanting to hear our message.
It’s easy to forget how far we have traveled. When I did a Google search for ‘compassion+healthcare’ in 2006, the result was only 3,000 page hits. I couldn’t find the word ‘compassion’ in any document regarding healthcare quality or strategy in NZ, Australia, the UK or the USA. Today the same Google search yields 20,000,000 hits. Top of the first page is ‘Hearts in Healthcare’. The world really is changing.
In the last year, we’ve done over 100 presentations, workshops, meetings and events in six countries. It’s easy to get lost in all the rush of activity and I have the added challenge of maintaining a part-time anesthetic practice and continuing medical education. So we feel the time is right to step back, reflect on our learning, and reassess priorities. For a summary of our most profound lessons, see my recent article, ‘Seven pitfalls for the compassion champion’.
As we travel around the world, we are witnessing widespread stress, ill-health and burnout among all the health professions – including health managers. So one of our priorities for the New Year will be creating programs to help professionals tend to their own health and wellbeing.
Compassion begins at home. My first priority is to exercise self-compassion and attend to my own wellbeing. I’m taking a three-month sabbatical to refresh, relax, meditate, reflect and ponder the future of Hearts in Healthcare from a place of stillness. I’ll be disconnecting from email and the news media.
I will reflect with gratitude on the amazing support, encouragement and wisdom we receive from our members, who always inspire us to continue our efforts. You are the standard-bearers for our movement, taking the message far and wide. Know that the world is ready. Take care of yourselves.
See you in the New Year. I’ll take up the reins again in March.