Sunday, 16 December 2012

"What is the best thing about being a patient?" - testing out appreciative enquiry

This post is my attempt to
be a Jolly Christmas Patient!
'Tis the season to be jolly . . . and so I shall be jolly, but about what?!

I recently attended a conference about public engagement and learnt about appreciative enquiry - an engagement technique that focuses on the positives. More about the technique can be found here. I am all for positivity and think that positive themes are key for good engagement, otherwise the whole affair can be rather depressing. Whilst the conference was aimed at a wider audience than just health, they did give a healthcare example for appreciative enquiry: "what is the best thing about being a patient?" Now, I am pretty keen to answer questions, and normally have a response for most questions thrown my way, but this one stumped me! I have been mulling this over over the last few days (assisted by mulled wine!) and have come up with more suggestions than I thought I would have . . .
Seeing the best side of humanity - the care and compassion shown by healthcare professionals, friends and family

Realising the enormous value of good friends and family - realising how lucky I am to have such resources!

Learning important life lessons at the age of twenty, and having all these years ahead of me to put the lessons into practice - something you don't get if you learn them during a mid-life crisis, by its very definition!

Finding my passion - self-management! All through university I saw my friends with burning passions they would read about all the time and be constantly talking about. I just assumed that I would never have that deep burning passion and would just bumble through life being a bit interested in a few things . . . Until I was ill and the long-term condition can of worms was opened! Through that, I now have a career I am passionate about, volunteer work I believe in and my blog. ...

Self-management skills have been really useful in every aspect of my life - from work to relationships - so other parts of my help are helped (slightly) by my experience as a patient.

Call it being over-precious or whatever, but I have discovered the benefits of healthy eating, Pilates, Alexander Technique, Autogenics . . . All of which, whilst not curing my current conditions, do help prevent any further additions to my already long medical history! Consequently, I now take better care of myself than I ever did BC (before conditions).

I have had the enormous privilege of the attention of medical students and conference delegates for an hour, to explain the realities of life with a long-term health conditions, and the fantastic opportunity to discuss it on a blog for the Department of Health.

Not to forget, the significant amount of trashy TV I can justify watching on "bad days" . . . .

I don't want to paint a glossy picture of an enlightened patient - I still struggle on a daily basis, but taking the time to think about the positives has been a good thing to do. I wonder what other positives I will discover in 2013?

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