engage the youth

This YouTube video from 15 year old Morgan Gleason is spreading like wildfire on the Internet.  She speaks eloquently and passionately about what she needs from the health system to heal:  and that’s not to be woken up at 6 am by strange doctors making rounds.

There are some other gems of wisdom in Morgan’s words:  she speaks of her rheumatoid doctor visiting her at noon (like a ‘normal’ person) and that he cares about her.  I think many health professionals care for their patients, but I don’t think that many of them show that they care.  Perhaps waking patients up at 6 am because that’s what’s best for your schedule isn’t the best way to show you care or to engage the youth (or any patient, come to think of it).  Patients need sleep to heal.

Morgan also says, I am the patient.  I need to be heard.  She shares her frustration with health professionals speaking to her parents about her treatment and care instead of her.  I can tell you when clinicians speak directly to my son, age 10, instead of through me – they get big brownie points from both of us.  Patients first, always.

To engage the youth voice at the organizational level, there are two great examples of Youth Councils across Canada. One is at IWK, in Halifax, called YAC, the Youth Advisory Council.  Another is the Child and Youth Advisory Council at London Health Science’s Children’s Hospital.  YAC even has its own YouTube channel, with videos directed by youth at the hospital.  Hear their message in their own words:  Nothing about us without us.

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