Our stories say a lot about us, and they can also teach us a lot from them ourselves. Consider this example about one of our colleagues, summarized by a volunteer interviewer:
She was at mass one day and heard the priest repeat a few lines very slowly and oddly. In thinking that he was having a stroke, she approached the pulpit. As a diabetic educator and research nurse, she quickly realized that he was hypoglycemic. In caring for him and talking with him, she noticed severe symptoms such as a potential deep vein thrombosis and indication of infection. They negotiated that he would go to the hospital immediately following mass, as he had come up for the first communion ceremony and was determined to finish it for the children. Afterward, he went to the hospital and was admitted for immediate antibiotic treatment and therapy for the clot.
Although he asked for no visitors, he requested that she come and see him. Together they talked about what she knew best: diabetes. She helped him understand the disease and the problematic symptoms. It was through her ability to identify a problem, follow her gut and demand that the priest, an obvious authority figure, trust her and seek treatment that she was able to change and potentially save a life.
This was a great example of a “Just do it!” story. It is one of more than 400 stories of peak experiences heard late last year by a team of 60 staff, faculty, M2s and senior administrators who interviewed their peers in the school’s community. Their goal: to discern what gives life to BSOM when we are “creating possibility.” On Friday, Jan. 20, these interviewers came together in energetic fashion to make sense of what they had heard.
Together they identified enduring factors that appeared again and again in the interviews: unconditional respect; “get your ego out of the way;” feeding the fire; “persistaverance.” Metaphors were created to more deeply describe the medical school when it is at its best in creating possibility: a team of rowers with a common goal; balloons of many kinds rising together; a tree with strong roots and many possibilities for the spring; a single family of healers embracing our community.
What will be done with so much work? First, a group of six will refine the afternoon’s outcomes into a white paper that will be shared with the Brody community. We’ll then begin imagining together a future BSOM that gives life to those peak experiences and the positive core of the Brody School of Medicine.