How Canadian, eh? At one level those of us who are involved in the AMS Phoenix Project ‘A Call to Caring’ are polite, considerate and delightfully professional and civilized. This reflects the premise of the Project that health professionals provide the best care when they are able to balance human compassion and technical expertise. And yet AMS Phoenix is also angry, dissatisfied, and looking to effect system-wide change to healthcare and healthcare professional education where this balance has been lost, forgotten or simply trampled underfoot by the ongoing tsunami of healthcare change and reform.
We are angry that we have a health system that can be less human, less caring and less person-centred than we would expect, and we are concerned that aspects of care have become, or in some cases continue to be, lacking in human dignity and compassion. Care in this context is not solely aimed at patients, although they are of course the primary focus. Everyone in the healthcare process needs to be caring and cared for, not least because a lack of care for some can have an insidious effect on the ability to care for others, or indeed for all.
Anger is not our only underlying theme; we also have hope. Hope based on examples of care and compassion transcending the quotidian patient and professional experiences of contemporary healthcare, and hope based on changes to the training of tomorrow’s health professionals so that poor practices of one generation are not automatically passed on to the next. Most important of all, we have more hope than anger. As the Project grows our hope grows with it.
AMS Phoenix is currently funding fellows and projects to explore new opportunities and to provide evidence to effect change in healthcare and health professional education that improves the quantity and quality of care for everyone. We will progressively synthesize and develop the learning from these different strands to create a unifying vision for caring and compassionate healthcare that is practical, sustainable and, we hope, compelling.
AMS Phoenix is not and cannot be separate from society and we should not be unaccountable for what we’re doing or how we’re doing it. This blog is one of our many channels through which we will describe our work and through which we seek your feedback and perspectives. We hope to be able to crowdsource opinions and ideas that can direct, inform and critique what we do. We hope too that polite anger will increasingly turn to a justified hope and expectation for real change.
– Rachel Ellaway, March 2014
Letters of intent are now being accepted for the 2014 AMS Phoenix Fellowship Awards and the 2014 AMS Phoenix Call to Caring Grants Initiative.
This year, both the Phoenix Fellowship and Call to Caring Grants Initiative strongly encourage proposals that are focused on advancing the development of:
- Health professionals’ self identity that will sustain compassionate care
- Educational activities and curriculum materials that enable compassionate care
- Environments that support compassionate care
The Fellowship proposal deadline is March 31; the Grant proposal deadline is April 7.
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