the “r” word

Posted by Stephanie Ahlborn on

It is a word in team meetings that I insist is not to be used, and is not to be used in ANY of our messaging. There are days my skin crawls when I hear it. The “R” word. If you are a HCW you likely know what I’m referring to.

The “R” word - R for resiliency.

We are asked to learn to be more resilient. That we just need to give more, bend more, adapt to our surroundings, our systems and policies. 

We are OVERbent. As is our nature, we give and give and our training, our being, one who is drawn to a life of service in healthcare, already practices resiliency.

When I hear that word - it implies that I am not giving enough, my colleagues are not giving enough. That there is a flaw in us, that we need to do better, be better.

No. Hold up. Let’s recognize that the flaw is in the system. The healthcare system - globally - needs to shift. We need to start recognizing the humanness of HCWs and the inhumane way they are being treated - by administrators, governments, and unfortunately sometimes, patients.

Through COVID-19 I lost many of my staff. Many could not continue facing what other sectors would classify as abuse.

Death threats - yes I’ve had death threats as have an unbelievable amount of my colleagues.

This needs to stop. We can’t do it alone. We cannot change the system alone. We need to start together, in formation, and make our limits and boundaries clear. We need to support one another in doing so, so that the system can no longer “divide and conquer”.

We need our communities to stand with us and speak out/up for us - we often cannot speak up for ourselves for fear of losing our jobs.

Let’s support one another, stand up together and encourage our patients and our communities to speak up for us as well.  We need to be heard and be listened to, not learn to be more resilient. We already are resilient to do what we do and to have come this far.

So instead of resiliency let’s start using the “S” words:

Speak Up.

Stand Up

Support each other.

When we can’t speak up, we need to educate those around us on what the issues in healthcare are so that they can speak up for us. We need to shift the culture of medicine, not continue to support it by learning to be “more” of ANYTHING. 

We are enough.

We are formation.

Our name formation demonstrates that a shift is needed. Let’s do this together. 

As always, I love to hear from our community. If you have thoughts, comments, or a story you feel should be heard, please reach out - anonymous or otherwise.


Until my next progress note, 

We got this.

Dr. K

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Pulse, Barbie & In Charge - A Perfect Match 💓

Pulse, Barbie & In Charge - A Perfect Match 💓


Barbie has proven to be THE biggest debut ever for a film directed by a woman after earning a reported $162 million during its opening weekend! Wow.

I had been waiting and waiting to see this movie with my three teenage girls! Of course we dressed up, just like the rest of the moviegoers, fully embracing and creating an immersive experience earlier this week. And it did NOT disappoint. If you haven’t gone, go.

Even if you don’t like pink!

I wore my new formation scrubs in Pulse Pink - which ironically are being released now, at the same time as Barbie!

Here I am with my girls going into the movie:

Pink is a colour that many people have struggled with for a long time. When I was little, it was known that “pink is for girls, blue is for boys” - so I avoided pink, even though I kind of liked the colour. I was known as a ‘Tom Boy’, so I was not about to be pigeon-holed as another girl-who-likes-pink!

Now, I actually love the colour pink and what it means to me and those around me. To me, pink represents unconditional love, which is something that those in health care understand deeply.

It’s unapologetic, it doesn’t waver, and it boldly stands for what and whom we believe in.

Pulse Pink is here to embody that.

Pink now also represents strength, which has been a slow shift over the years. In a way, this also reflects some progress for women as well, as pink is traditionally “girly”.

For those who aren’t aware, I’m a physician, but also an artist. I try to sew in my studio as often as I can. I created this “mini” quilt for a call for entries. (I normally create 8 ft x 8 ft abstract modern quilt pieces). It still speaks to me, and how the world perceives women.

My quilt was chosen to be featured in the publication, here was my artist’s statement:

In Charge Quilt
Which do you want to be seen as?
In Charge, or, you Charge In.
There is a subtle difference, I feel, especially for women, which is why I chose these colours.
Pink for the traditional female, and orange is often seen as a colour of stepping into and owning our vulnerabilities and in doing so healing.

Times have certainly changed since my training days when I’d be one of three women at a cardiovascular surgery conference of hundreds.

I left “Charge” unquilted as it is imperfect. I feel we are all trying to figure this out - maybe you already have - but for myself, every day I am striving to be #incharge 💗

As you step into your Pulse Pink scrubs, remember that you are not just wearing a colour; you are embodying the spirit of empowerment, love, and authenticity. And, you are In Charge.

When Greta Gerwig was asked by People Magazine how she dealt with right-wing conservatives who expressed their disapproval for the film by declaring it “woke” and threatening to burn their Barbies, she said, “Certainly, there’s a lot of passion. My hope for the movie is that it’s an invitation for everybody to be part of the party and let go of the things that aren’t necessarily serving us as either women or men. I hope that in all of that passion, if they see it or engage with it, it can give them some of the relief that it gave other people.”

Pulse Pink is a limited edition colour - when the fabric is gone, we are not restocking. We have left some fabric out of production so you can still get a Bespoke form. We are gender inclusive, honour all forms, and 1% of proceeds support healthcare workers' mental health. You can find your form in our new fitting room on the site, and as always, reach out to me if you need any help or have questions at

I’d also love to hear what you thought of the movie and see photos of you in Pulse!

We Got This,

Dr. Kathryn Dundas M.D., C.C.F.P.

'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