Seek your Teachers . . .

Earlier this week I had a meeting with a staff member at Kingston General Hospital. This is one of the two hospitals that take care of me. It’s the hospital where I volunteer as a Patient Experience Advisor.

I decided to meet with a few key people on staff to share my message and goals with. KGH is the seed of this journey . . . why not share my plans with the people who enabled me to start this. By “this” I mean patient experience advising, public speaking, patient advocacy and my writing – as a compliment.

My goal in doing this is to let people know what I’m working toward and get feedback, ideas and maybe even some introductions to people relevant to my goals.

When I spoke to this staff member, who is so humble that I’ve never known her full title(s), I still know she’s a huge deal, I felt like I was in class. One of those meetings where someone is generous of mind and spirit.

I took notes.

She mentioned names and books and philosophies. Most pointedly, she mentioned “e-Patient Dave” (Dave deBronkart) and Jeff Ansell.

“e-Patient Dave” is an international keynote speaker, author and health policy advisor. Mr. deBronkart’s book is called. “Let Patient’s Help!” At KGH we’ve been lucky enough to have e-Patient Dave come and speak with us – have him in our midst.


Jeff Ansell is a communication and management consultant, who among things wrote a book called, “When the Headline is You”.

When The Headline Is You

In addition to directing me to these amazing people, she also stressed some points during the meeting:

1. The absolute importance of being message-centred or message-focused as I move forward. With that orientation I will be on the right track.

2. Approaching this journey with a collaborative mindset and a willingness to learn. She mentioned that Mr. deBronkart raved about how much he learned from visiting us at KGH. Even as a keynote speaker he didn’t come to us believing he had all the answers – he was open to learning from the experience.

As icing on the cake, she made an email introduction between myself and e-Patient Dave!! What an amazing opportunity . . . and a vote of confidence too.

This single meeting has been an amazing experience.

  • I’ve been set on the right track as far as my orientation to my larger goal.
  • I’ve been given some great references and tools to learn from.
  • I feel like I have an ally, in this staff member, who understands what I’m trying to achieve.
  • I’ve been introduced to someone, e-Patient Dave, who is living a life similar to what I’d hope to achieve for myself and who may share some insights with me.

One of the most important actions I see as being necessary, having had this meeting, is to consciously clarify my message. In my case I feel like I have a few messages – so I should aim to be clear on all of them.

Lesson learned in this . . .

Seek the counsel of people around you. There is so much you can learn just from the people in your midst. That meeting was amazing!

I think the tandem lesson is to be generous with what you know too.

Mentorship, or the counsel of teachers, doesn’t have to be a formal structured thing . . . sometimes mentorship can be just as profound in form of simple moments when we listen or when we share.

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