Tuesday 22 November 2022

All Together Now! The Power of Teamwork in Caregiving

I actually published this post a few months ago but I want to reprise it because (pause for happy dance), I am hosting Dr. Brian Goldman on our next Caregiving Essentials webinar to talk about teamwork in caregiving! Join us for what promises to be a rich, rich discussion about how to effectively create and collaborate on care teams at home and in institutional settings. Free but you have to register to get the link - click HERE! 

Today I finished reading The Power of Teamwork: How We Can All Work Better Together by Dr. Brian Goldman and I had to share my excitement about it right away. There are SO many lessons here for family caregivers and the circles of care that we manage. I've written about Dr. Goldman before, notably in a review I penned of his excellent The Power of Kindness back in 2018. Dr. Goldman is an ER doctor in Toronto, and he is a compelling storyteller. He's the host of the CBC, widely syndicated White Coat/Black Art show as well as the podcast, The Dose. When Dr. Brian Goldman talks, I listen and learn.

So let me tell you what I learned about caregiving and leadership from The Power of Teamwork. I learned that groups are not the same as teams (we KNOW this but seeing the words in print made me stop and reflect on all the times I've been frustrated in "team meetings" for my son or my Mom and now I understand that it was because people at the table were actually in groups - groups that excluded me). I learned the term "flattened hierarchies." I love that! We are all human, we each have a particular role to play in a project of care, a role that is based on our talents, skills and knowledge. And from the team, leaders naturally emerge. And their roles aren't static; they can change, depending the situation. In his book, Goldman tells the story of Dr. Kevin Menes, an ER doc who happened to be working a shift on the night of the worst mass shooting in US history.  Fifty-eight people were killed on October 1, 2017, when Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. Nearby Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center treated 199 patients in just six hours. Dr. Kevin Menes took charge of operations. He was an exemplary team leader. Rules were broken to meet the needs of the moment, hierarchies were flattened. It is a riveting story of coordinated care in the most horrendous and chaotic circumstances.

Dr. Trevor Jain, a young doctor on the scene of a terrible Swissair plane crash near Halifax in 1998, set up a massive makeshift mortuary and set about identifying the remains of hundreds of deceased passengers. He reflected on his own experience and that of Dr. Menes, "If you let people do what they're trained to do, and grow into the role and encourage it, you as a leader, it's just going to make you look outstanding. It's not insecurity. A leader should never be insecure. They (the other team members) are just going to make you look phenomenal."

There are so many lessons for caregivers in The Power of Teamwork. If you feel like your circle of care has "sides" or you just want to be a more effective care team leader, buy this book now! It is wonderful.

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