I was honoured to get an invitation from Dr Sinead Murphy, director of education and professional development of the Royal College of Physicians Ireland, at the RCPI’s annual St Luke’s Symposium in Dublin in October.
Under the title, ‘Attuned and Present -the value of adopting a relational approach in practice’, I shared insight into how practitioners can establish boundaries, manage time and attend to their own wellbeing, while learning to listen actively and reflectively via our CPD-approved and evidence based ABLE (Adopt a relational approach, Build, Listen and Empower) training programme.
It gave me the opportunity to reflect on my own journey in medicine and to share some of the insights that helped me to decide what type of a practitioner I wanted to be.
I can distinctly remember the moment that a colleague told me I had seen her mother in A&E and how she had described me as ‘business-like’ – and how uncomfortable I felt with that label.
As I thought about my behaviour in the A&E department I could certainly identify what the patient meant because I had been focused, had a job to do and a problem to sort so was not open or available to discuss anything outside of that .. even trivia!
This feedback gave me the opportunity to think about how I would like to be seen / experienced by patients.
I would describe myself as a warm, caring person and wouldn’t want a patient to experience me as distant. I wanted to be present with patients and available for them to share their worries or concerns – or chat about trivia if that helped them.
I knew that a relational approach would make a difference … and so my journey to be more present and attuned began.
Recognising that the quality of relationships is a key determinant of health and wellbeing, I founded Ag Eisteacht, which means ‘listening’ in Irish. My vision is that Ireland’s frontline practitioners are equipped with the skills to enable them to build responsive relationships with their patients and are afforded the time and support needed to become more reflective practitioners which will enhance their own wellbeing and job satisfaction – a win for everyone.
Time is a gift, and it’s about empowering practitioners to make the most of those times when they are ‘turned to’ for support in order to build capacity and maintain wellbeing for both the practitioner and client/patient.
Dr Maeve Hurley, founder of Ag Eisteacht, shares a pivotal moment in her career when she realised that reflective practice was key to better outcomes for all.