Unconventional Surprises

Day #1 of the Telluride Summer Camp was even better than I hoped. I expected to discuss patient safety; we did that. I expected to be taught by leaders and experts in the field; we did that. I expected small-group brainstorming sessions that let us come up with our own ideas to pitch to the group; we did that. I expected to hear troubling, yet informative patient stories; we did that. I expected team-building exercises (a workshop would never feel complete without them); we did that.

So, big deal, right? This sounds like every seminar ever, doesn’t it?

What surprised me about the first day was that we hit all of the bullet points of the camp’s agenda, but we did all this in the most unconventional of ways! I never expected to be bidding on an actual $10 bill. I never expected to be negotiating property value. I never expected to hear a story as moving and thought-provoking as the case of Lewis Blackman. I never expected to be so vehemently protecting little egg-shaped patients named Stewie 1 and Stewie 2. I never expected the unconventional beauty of summertime in a place like Telluride.

Most of all, I never expected the breadth and depth of experience that all the participants would bring to the table. The biggest surprise has been my fellow campmates. In less than 8 hours, they shared with me the highs and lows of their education, careers, workplace, etc. to a point where I’m already learning about strategies that could help improve systems at home. For every conversation there was about running, golf, or hiking yesterday, I had many more discussions focused on the challenges of ED staffing, pediatric nursing roles/responsibilities, outcome measurement/metrics, quality improvement initiatives, and medical school curriculum.

Like we discussed yesterday, assumptions are often a source of error. I’m happy that I didn’t assume a room full of students wouldn’t be a room full of burgeoning ideas, thoughts, experiences, and creativity. I can’t wait to see what day #2 holds for us all!

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