some thoughts to share for our first progress note

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What do you see? What do you feel?

Sit with it for a minute. Or two.

I was recently presented the image above during a website build-out meeting.

When I first saw the image I thought:

“Wow. Love that.”

But then immediately I was unsettled.

It didn’t feel right. 

Something was building in me.

“The world needs us to be strong.”

That was it. That day, I was tired.

Tired of being strong—being strong for people who didn’t seem to care. The patient I saw who had just returned from Mexico, but didn’t mention that on their COVID screening form because the airport screening said they were fine. Mexico. Because that was essential?

Meanwhile I can’t remember the last time I saw my 89 year old mother who lives only ten minutes away.

Here I am—here WE are—putting our lives on pause while some days it feels as though a lot of the world is having a party. One that I’m not invited to until someone contracts COVID and needs our help.

That was a bad day. Some days are like that and I find that I beat myself up because as a physician I’m supposed to be non-judgemental, care for everyone, no questions asked. But—and it’s a big but—it feels like a slap in the face when you go onto Facebook and see photos of “friends” breaking COVID public health recommendations. I am rarely on social media now except for my doctor groups, where thankfully I’ve found community and strength because as a community of health care workers, we get it.

A lifelong friend texted me in November: “You really think COVID is that bad?”

Yes, yes I do. Another friend bites the dust... This has also been a casualty of COVID—my friendship list is dwindling.

Fast forward to the first ever Canadian Women’s Physician Day hosted by the Canadian Women in Medicine organization.

An amazing virtual event with tributes to our women public health colleagues. We had lots of tears. But we came together as a community. Together, we are strong. And yes we need to be strong for each other.

The next day I felt renewed.

I looked at the above picture again and I said, “Yes.” Yes we do and yes we can, together.

So I now see this as my barometer. How am I feeling today? Was there an overriding feeling of entitlement from others today, or people showing support?

I have some amazing patients—one even had coffee delivered to all staff during the height of the early pandemic days. I’ve had people drop notes of cheering us on, thanking us. This is important as we know the negative reviews and critical patients seem to be the squeakiest. 

We are changing that with formation. For me, and I hope for you too, formation is a beacon of hope. We are building this community to help support each other because We Got This. 

Like a rock formation, we are stronger together.

- Kathryn
  Founder & CEO

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progress notes

'Tis the Season for Giving 🎁

'Tis the Season for Giving 🎁

This holiday season, help give a healthcare worker the gift of formation scrubs! 🎁

We believe in the power of collective action, which is why we created the Pay It Forward program.  

The program allows individuals, businesses, or organizations to give the gift of the scrubs, without needing to purchase a pair. Through community donations, this program facilitates the purchase of a pair of scrubs for a health care worker through anonymous donations. 

Just like finding out at the drive-through window that the kind soul ahead of you has bought your meal, a health care worker will be surprised at the checkout on our website with a message that lets them know someone has already paid for their set of scrubs.

Our hope is that this kind gesture by community members and customers will bring a smile and moment of joy to our health care workers who have been working tirelessly on the frontlines. 

Recognizing your commitment to supporting formation’s community of health care workers, and all that they do to keep us safe and healthy, is important to us. Without the generous contribution from sponsors like you, our Pay It Forward program would not be possible.

Have a healthy and happy holiday!

We got this,

- the formation team

5 Tips for Handling Holiday Stress

5 Tips for Handling Holiday Stress

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but can also be one of the most stressful times for healthcare workers. 

Healthcare does not rest during the holiday season, and as you know, work often gets busier. On top of an overloaded work schedule and increased personal commitments, we’re entering into the time of year that has shorter, darker, colder days. Now more than ever, it’s essential to take care of your mental and physical health.

These five tips can help you to manage stress during the next few weeks, and make the most of  the holiday season:

       1) Plan What You Can

While planning ahead is always a good idea, it’s important to remember that there are some things that are out of your control. Planning ahead can help you visualize your work shifts, holiday activities, and obligations you’ve committed. It’s okay to say no when you feel overwhelmed or overburdened, keep a calendar to help you decide which ones you will truly enjoy.

       2) Be Realistic

As we enter into the season of giving, remember that you give every day in your job - your time, your care, and your patience. While giving in and outside of work can help you feel happiness, it can also lead to burnout. It's important to know your limits. Keeping a realistic approach to the season and what you can take on both personally and professionally can help you manage expectations for the winter months.

       3) Make a List (& Check it Twice)

With so much going on, the last thing you want to do is lose track of time and feel overwhelmed with everything you need to accomplish. Instead of trying to remember everything you need to do, make a list (or two) and check off each task as you complete it. Making a list of professional and personal to-dos, ideas for holiday shopping, or writing down goals for the month will help you keep on top of everything.

       4) Savour the Season

With so much going on, remember to take a step back away from it all and enjoy the charm of the season. Throw on a Christmas playlist, make a cup of hot chocolate, and take a walk around your neighbourhood to look at the lights. 

       5) Remember to Rest

The holiday season brings more stress, more work and more travel, which typically means less rest. On top of taking on extra personal obligations, it’s also the peak of cold and flu season, so its extra important to rest and take extra measures to stay healthy. Keeping active, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest will be essential for keeping your mental health and immune system strong.

Remember you are never alone, ask for help and support when you need it, and recognize the signs of burnout. Our library has multiple resources to support your mental and emotional wellness. 

Give yourself the gift of mental and physical health this holiday season. We’re in this together!

We got this,

- the formation team