Sunday, 20 October 2013

All the world's a stage.- including the hospital ward

Here's what my office looked like on Friday:

My favourite workspace
© divacultura 2013
I spent the day lying in bed and receiving bad news, repeatedly.

Sometimes I was required to react angrily and other times I was directed to be shocked or disbelieving. Usually I reached the point of tears, depending on the interaction with the particular doctor.

Students (practising surgeons) were receiving feedback on their communication and ability to manage emotions. Generally they did very well. What struck me during the debriefing was how sincere they were about wanting the best outcome for their patient (me). Where a mistake had been made, they were appalled on my behalf.

Wardrobe and special FX done.
© divacultura 2013

In the debriefing after scenarios where I had been directed to be angry and was introduced to the students by my own name, some of them looked a little wary. I always wave and smile and introduce myself in the friendliest way possible to prove that the threat is gone. Once they realise this, I notice many of them looking at me, fascinated. Only a moment before I was lying on a hospital bed, the day after my operation, attacking them and wanting to find someone to blame; yet there I am, moments later, looking and sounding completely different.

I love this work!

One of the students had a lovely way of contextualising each piece of information he provided. He explained afterwards that we all come with stories - the patient, the doctor etc - and that each event or interaction adds to that story. I loved his way of thinking. He was wonderful to talk to - empathetic, respectful and caring.

Wardrobe and makeup was really easy. Hospital gowns are the least flattering garments on the planet, but they ARE comfortable. The bandage on my arm is to keep my fake IV in place and I have a hospital bracelet to make sure I'm identified correctly as the simulated patient.

As in life, my simulated husband's presence was repeatedly requested by the doctors. My simulated husband was not there when I needed him. He was running his simulated business but was going to pick up the simulated children from school and come in later in the day.

Everytime I cry during these jobs, I receive questions about "how do you do that?" I now borrow my friend's response: "How do you do surgery?"

In my line of work, all the world IS a stage and they don't call it an operating theatre for nothing.

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