Last night, the Family Advisory Board of NC Children’s Hospital kicked off a new year with a fantastic session!
Truth be told – my nerves were high as this would be my first meeting as Chair, the responsibility heavy on my mind. But as our members filed in, ease filled the air. Individuals with unique stories, varying experiences, different personalities and a variety of skills. Parents, patients, care providers, and clinicians. What an eclectic bunch!
I began by recognizing journeys in healthcare often include pain. Yet within those trials exists what I have come to call the “treasure trove of suffering”. Unfathomable gifts wrapped in unexpected packaging.
Resilient strength of children.
Fearless love of parents.
Pity replaced by compassion.
Counting each day as a gift.
Recognizing the miraculous in the familiar.
Beauty in the broken.
As everyone shared their stories and acquired treasures, eyes filled with tears, heads nodding with empathy. Stories of strength, stories of trial. Stories of love, loss, and hope. Unique journeys walked by one-of-a-kind individuals.
Through acknowledging our unique experiences, we found ourselves remarkably unified! Unified by the treasures gathered along the way and respect for the trials endured.
How easily comparison could sneak in:
“But my child is still alive; yours died!”
“My journey was short; you’re still on this difficult journey!”
“My kids are healthy; what could I possibly bring to the table?”
“I’m just a healthcare provider. I’ve never had a sick child. How could I contribute?”
“I only… I just… But I haven’t…”
In one accord we voiced that comparison would have no place on our Board. We acknowledge our unique experiences, roles, etc. We honor the treasures our troves have wrought. And together – parents, patients, and providers alike – unite with the common goal of serving the healthcare community that served us well.
NC Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Board: Unique AND Unified!