Saturday, June 07, 2008

TouchStones of Compassionate Care

I got my new project out the door today, so I finally have some time to share the details. As many of you may remember, several months ago I participated in a "Dear Future Physician" letter writing campaign initiated by a first year medical student as part of her "Reflections in Doctoring" course. The primary message I tried to convey to our future physicians is to "allow kindness and compassion to guide you and, above all else, be a physician who cares".

After writing the letter, I felt compelled to find a way to extend the message in my letter so that it would reach and impact as many young physicians as possible. I came up with the idea of having pocket stones engraved with the words Kindness, Compassion and Care, and providing young physicians with one of these stones to carry in the pocket of their white jacket as a tangible symbol and reminder to always strive to provide compassionate care to their patients and their patients' families.

I ran the idea by several physicians and one of the PICU intensivists who took care of Jack when he was a baby has agreed to be one of the first to try the program. She is now the Director of Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins. If the program proves to be successful (ie: it has a measurable impact in serving as a reminder to physicians to practice compassionate care), then the plan is to reach out to medical schools and hospitals across the country.

It was suggested that it would be powerful for young physicians to see pictures of Jack through the years while listening to the words of my letter. So, I put together a DVD of me reading the letter with a montage of Jack and I included the DVD with the pocket stones I sent out. Here is what I put together:

I'm excited about the project and truly hope it can make a small difference in encouraging our future physicians to practice medicine from the heart. **

**Anyone who has connections at a medical school/Children's hospital that might be interested in the program, please email me. Anyone interested in providing financial support for the program through The Willow Tree Foundation, please email me.


julie w said...

Absolutely lovely Ann, your letter is great, and I think the stones idea is fantastic. Maybe you could send a box across the pond - I could think of several doctors here who need one!


Cindy said...

Super idea! I have no doubt that this project will MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Well done Ann. Let me know if I can help in any way.

Melisande said...

Awesome! I know some people to share this with as well!! You've done a fabulous thing!

Anonymous said...

hi Ann,

What a wonderful idea, it does make such a difference when you meet a doctor that actually cares and treats you with respect. Think this is such a great idea!


Bea xx

Rachel Marini said...

That was amazing, Ann!!! Props to you!!! I know people at Children's in DC who I think would like to participate. Feel free to contact me :)

Anne said...

We'll discuss this this week-I think it's perfect for the residents that rotate in the NICU each month.

Anonymous said...

Ann, that was beautifully done!


Anonymous said...

Great project! I'll email you some information.

Sarah said...

Extremely inspirational! I know this program will be successful! Your letter was so touching.....especially your story about the Dr. kneeling down to talk to you. It brought me to tears and reminded me of some of my good experiences.