“Are We Sure ?”

One of the best expressions I have found in my quest to develop compassion in practice is the simple question – “Are you sure ?”

This week, while setting up a teaching session for emergency floor consultants on advanced End of Life care, a colleague  challenged me quite forcefully with – “Can you please highlight what the learning objectives are … (it needs to) sit within a framework to address outcomes.”

An interesting, and all too common perspective. But are we sure it is always the right one ?

What if the learning objective is to simply be there ? To understand our colleagues’ challenges in delivering good End of Life care in an overcrowded Emergency Department and to share our own ? To acknowledge and reconcile (even if only a bit) our suffering by knowing we are not in it alone ?

Are we sure such non ‘framework’ outcomes are any less important than being updated with the latest NICE guidance and having experts teach us current best practice ? (also included in the program)

To me, it is like eating a meal. Do we need to routinely set “nutritional objectives” of how much vitamin-mineral-protein-calories to consume each time ? Or can we simply allow ourselves to connect with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in the food (or an educational event) and trust sometimes that may be enough.