About six months ago I was at the SMACC GOLD conference in Queensland having a blast and rubbing shoulders with the great teachers of the FOAM family. I was lucky enough to be asked to give a talk and really given free reign over the topic. Which sounds like a good thing, but means that I had to think long and hard about what I really wanted to talk about.
I certainly feel a good measure of the “Imposter Syndrome” when I go to these amazing meetings and give my five cents as a rural generalist. After all we specialise in knowing just enough to get by – so what can we add to such an amazing group of specialists. So I chose a topic that I think we GPs know very well and one that I believe can solve many of the dilemmas facing the broader medical community.
Empathy. Yep – sounds like a really dull topic. Very wishy-washy, touchy feely and far removed from the hardcore airway and resuscitation realm. But I love a challenge – I wanted to have a crack at making empathy relevant to doctors in the coal face of critical care. Putting it in terms that we can understand and integrate into our practice. The challenge – to sell “empathy” to the super smart FOAM docs.
To put this into context – I was sitting in the audience for the opening ceremony where Dr Vic Brazil gave an awesome talk about the Tribes of Medicine – in which she discussed the troubles of intercollegiate empathy. This was heartening to hear as I was up to speak a few hours later on some similar themes. And then I saw that I was due to speak at the exact same time as the venerable Dr Cliff Reid – he was talking on Dogmalysis in Resuscitation. Once again – another theme I wanted to explore – as dogma is an enemy of empathy.
So please have a listen to the podcast. The audio is here:
NOTE for viewers :- It is a very visual talk with lots of images. So it works best if you listen and follow the slides below.
It is a complex and fascinating topic – one that I hope will be the start of a discussion about how we can do better in our moment-by-moment interactions with our patients, friends and colleagues.
I would really love to hear your thoughts and if you have any ideas or practical tips for us all. How do you enhance your interactions with your patients and colleagues?
I am a GP working in Broome, NW of Western Australia. I work as a hospital DMO (District Med Officer) doing Emergency, Anaesthestics, some Obstetrics and a lot of miscellaneous primary care. Also on the web as @broomedocs | + Casey Parker | Contact