Today I thought i’d share a few thoughts about a small feeling of accomplishment, for sometimes even a small accomplishment can feels like a great thing.
For the last 6 months I’ve been working very hard on a research project that aims to assess a new system of resuscitation education for peripheral hospital doctors in Sri Lanka. It has been a challenging time and I’ve learned a lot. On Friday (3rd July) I feel like I jumped though one set of hoops in my personal PhD journey, but more than this I felt that the team of people who have been helping me, both visibly and invisibly, along the way have also jumped through those hoops along with me, and I really want to thank you for your company.
Friday was the certificate awarding ceremony where we delivered the certificates of participation for both the “Trainers” and “participants” of the resuscitation training course. In addition to this we had a panel discussion of how to make this training program sustainable and thus make a real impact on resuscitation education in the provincial doctor community. Ultimately the discussion was about how to make a positive impact on patient care in the province, which is always the name of the game.
This discussion occurred amongst policy makers of the Province where we’ve been conducting the project in collaboration with the local Provincial Ministry of Health. There were some important local people present having constructive dialogue and I felt like this was a huge achievement, even thought it was really only the beginning of a long road ahead. Nevertheless, and I am very happy with the outcome, for more than anything I believe I was party to a group of people who were working together to really try and achieve something good. I was also happy because it what had happened was the culmination of the efforts of so many people’s dedicated hard work.
There are literally too many people that I want to thank but I want to all the same because I feel that this project would not have gone anywhere without their help. First and foremost I feel the gratitude has to go to my hard working team of research assistants and secretary. Over the last 6 months I have had two batches of research assistants who are junior doctors awaiting internship. Both teams had been dedicated and diligent in helping me achieve my goals, but much more than that they have been a constant source of support, intelligence and creativity. Then there is the team at the Provincial department of health that have been absolutely fantastic. The MO of planning for the North Central Province in particular has taught me so much as well as been a pleasure to work with. Also other key people such as the as the Provincial Director of Health for NCP, who is our key partner, and the Regional Directors and Regional Epidemiologist for Anuradhapura, not to mention my direct seniors at the South Asian Clinical Toxicology Research collaboration (SACTRC) with whom I am affiliated, and of course my University (Australia National University, and the Welcome grant that helps fund my time here).
There have also been so many people who have helped so much along the way who so often don’t get a mention – i think they know who they are, particularly my friends and family who I feel I have neglected somewhat in the last 6 months-and to them I do want to make an apology.
However, I’m also thankful for the people who will not have access to a blog like this – people like the security guards who greet me with a smile each morning as I arrive to work and who let me out of the building late at night sometimes, for they are always there never complaining, consistently there form me. The team of drivers also greet me with a smile on a daily baisis as well as a sense of camaraderie after I got to know them a little better at the office cricket match and post-match Baila party! Then there’s our office crowd who somehow bring a sense of calm to my work day that quickly can become hectic, not to mention the list of activities that we have developed over time such as saying good morning in 3 languages in the morning, and of course our attempts at public speaking with the game we sometimes play over afternoon tea in our open-air canteen- “table topics” from Toastmasters ‘Anuradhapura edition’.
Then there is the whole host of instructors who are responsible for training the “trainers” from the very beginning last November. I’ve been very lucky to have such good links with these dedicated local consultants and and educators, as well as to have been able to have received a steady stream of help from overseas doctors (from as far as Nepal, India, New York, Brisbane and Perth) who have had a real knack for teaching resuscitation!
However, more than anything, I feel I have really have to express my gratitude, as well as awe, for the trainers themselves who took the challenge 6 months ago, back when they didn’t really know what they were up against, by having to learn to teach something they had not taught before, and actually followed through. Nobody knew that this would be possible at that early stage but they really did go the extra distance and they made it happen. The difficulties they faced is not readily apparent on face value, especially when you come from another culture and health system. What it means to attend a 2 day training session that is scores of kilometres from your place of work and residence is more than meets the eye, so to the dedication of these trainers we really owe a lot of the initial success of the program.
Finally, thank you to all the participants, who also have busy schedules, and the staff in the hospitals themselves who accommodated the training program for they also need a special mention.
So to all who have helped me with this project either visibly or invisibly, I appreciate it all and say a big “Thank you” to you!
Ps I hope you enjoy the quotes and the pictures!
Quotes that help me through the project
Always follow your heart and your “own” dreams as life is too short to follow someone else’s dreams
Life is not a race, but unfortunately we live on a race course
Simplicity = success (many would laugh at this if they saw my list of “to do’s”, especially Sari)
Happiness is the catalyst
“When wrestling a gorilla you give up with the gorilla gets tired, not when you get tired”
“You are never defeated until you accept something as defeat” – Helen Keller
“See problems as opportunity for improvement. Problems reveal genius” – Robin Sharma (Success coach and Author of “The monk who sold his Ferrari”)
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves” – Carl Jung (Psychologist)
“Success is within everyone of us, we just have to realise it” Bishan Rajapakse (some crazy NZ Sri Lankan doctor who is taking the scenic route to finishing his EM training)
and most importantly ….
“We are not machines” Dr D Jayasinghe – a very charismatic peripheral hospital doctor and trainer
Key to the pictures.
Below are some of the pictures of the Certificate Awarding Ceremony at the RDHS on July 3rd 2009, showing the progression of the meeting including the handing out of certificates and the subsequent discussion about sustainability. My research team and team of extended colleagues and helpers at the function are also extensively featured in the photos!