I came to the Courage & Renewal Health Care Institute because I believe we need companions for this journey. I don’t think we can do it alone. There are just too many forces that are operating to really destroy courage, to destroy the spirit, that we really want to cultivate and nurture in health care. And so I came to find companionship and to renew my own courage in doing this work that is more soulful work.

I’m not surprised to experience the community, the community of like minds and like hearts, who really have a passion for the work of creating not just the right kinds of atmosphere for the healing of our patients, but really for the healing of the caretakers as well–for our doctors, for our nurses, for all the people involved in our hospitals and in the care, in healthcare, in our nation.So here I found people of all types, from physicians to nurses to other administrators, and we are all really in this together. We are creating this common bond that we hope will change the way the landscape happens for health care.I think I’m not alone in hoping that we all get better in touch with our own souls and with the heart of medicine, with the heart of health care. I think that if we could all be in that space where we are in touch with our hearts, I think we could change so much. And that’s the kind of change that I think is needed.What I hope would change is that we wouldn’t have “patient satisfaction,” or “doctor satisfaction.” I would love to see a more mutual way of looking at care so that it’s kind of like an interchange, it isn’t just one or the other, it’s all of this that we do and how we are all impacted by each other’s stories, and by the healing process.Healing is such a complex endeavor that I think we are all impacted by it. I would love to see conversations where we could speak to that from the caregivers’ side, to the patients’ side, and to see it as a more mutual encounter.

I think our Americanized, Westernized sort of medicine has really focused on curing the body. And we’ve done a tremendous job of making such strides, but I think we have, in the process, lost the ability to be healers. I think you can always heal even when you can’t cure.

Healing has to do with the whole person. It has to do with the spirit, it has to do with the mind, it has to do with the body as well. And when one can’t be cured, you can always find healing. And healing is also something that the doctors, the nurses, the people giving the care, can find as well, even when they have failed at curing.

First of all, I have to say the Courage & Renewal Health Care Institute has really made it possible for me to continue to do my work. And I have to say with all honesty I probably would not be doing the work in the way that I’m doing right now. It was just too hard to do alone. So it has given me the ability to sustain my own courage when you find such brokenness.

The second thing it has given me, once it gave me that courage, was to really be able to show up in my places of work and in the interactions that I have with the brokenness in a way that does not produce more brokenness, in a way that gives me life and that also produces, I hope, some better outcomes for the interaction even when it’s still broken.

This is the kind of conference or institute, that would help you to unite all the parts of yourself. We treasure so much—the cognitive and our academic development—and this does not deny that. What this does is to bring all the parts that have actually not been so welcomed in this work before. And that is powerful because the combination of that is what you would get here.

This is about wholeness, and there is wholeness in each of us. It’s about time that those of us in health care begin to really take seriously the work of becoming more integrated so that we can do the work in a better way. I think that’s what you would get here, it’s a path to help you in your integrative process.

Doctors are really longing and hungry for integration and they will definitely need that now and in the years to come so much more.

Herdley Paolini, PhD, is Director/Licensed Psychologist, Physician Support Services, Florida Hospital. She is also a Courage & Renewal Facilitator. The next Courage & Renewal Health Care Institute is March 26-29, 2014 in Minneapolis, MN. Get more details. 

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