Today I attended a conference with a difference – Women&Medicine as part of Creative Careers in Medicine.

It is perhaps the first conference in about 10 years at which I have not presented a paper – the fact that I cannot estimate the years accurately is testament enough to my reason for attending.  This meeting is my 11th flight in three weeks, and one of six weekends away in eight weeks – why?   Reflective opportunity.

This conference was not about feminism – it was about equalism (is that a word? – not on spell check anyways).   There was the inevitable debate about merit versus quota – but that’s for another space.  It was about opportunity – the opportunity to reclaim our identity as individuals – not as ‘doctors who are women but women who are doctors’.    There was an eclectic mix of interdisciplinary 80’s and 90s’ish docs, and Gen X, Y, and Z and whatever generation I can’t keep up with.  We were all specialists – in somethings – even the GPs (I am #justaGP – I’m your specialist in life!:).

The impressive speaker list for the day included Medical Administrators, ED Consultants, University academics, Journalists, Financial Advisors, Digital Technology Advisors, O&G specialists, Career Counsellors, ENT surgeons, Medical Students, Paediatric Endocrinologists, Medicolegal Advisors, personal branding experts and Doctor’s Health champions.

Personal advocacy points for today:

  1. Patient education is an effective and undervalued aspect of our roles;
  2. Representative positions on Boards and Councils as (back seat) contributors is OK – sometimes we work in systems where being the ‘thought makers’ is premature, we just need to sit back and be opportune;
  3. We need to lead by example and that includes mentorship which is underutilised and undervalued.

Personal points that have ‘stuck’ for me today:

  • Work out your ‘why?’ Not just work it out, gather your like-minded buddies and make it happen;
  • You can only have one thought at once – replace a negative thought with a positive;
  • Give yourself permission – to be, to think, to reflect.

Picker’s Eight principles on Patient Centred Care resonated with me today, but I want to change it up – let’s do the principles of Doctor Centred Care.    Does that work?   How does that fit with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?   Crap, it doesn’t – how do we resolve that?   Let’s compare the pyramids.


            Picker’s patient centred-care                                         Maslow’s hierarchy

Now my fabulous IT skills whilst sitting on a plane have let me down –but imagine – what if respect for Doctor’s preferences = Dr centred care?  Just leaving it there.  All the other steps are absolutely negotiable and personal.   The point is about giving ourselves the permission to think about them.   I can’t get the triangles to align and the anal perfectionist is me is squealing but it’s late – submission is a noble art.

As an end to the conference, a beautiful young woman and poet spread the message of exclusivity and cultural challenge through intuitive poetry and exquisite non-verbal interaction.  What more could you want from a conference!

I challenge you tomorrow to think one impossible thing you can enjoy before breakfast – and share – and enjoy the  freedom that that thought brings!

Please feel free to comment.

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