climbing back up on that horse

Cowboy-1Two weeks ago, I was in Edmonton speaking at a health conference.  It went went very sour, very fast.  Fear of this type of response keeps me awake at night.  And then my nightmare – my worse case scenario – actually came to life.

I immediately stopped accepting speaking opportunities.  But I had a problem:  I had two pre-booked engagements, and I public speak a lot in my work at Sunny Hill Health Centre with BC Children’s Hospital.  Well, damn, my avoidance strategy wasn’t going to work.

I considered cancelling my next engagement.  But the program was already printed, and I also considered that I might just be being a big baby.

So the days have ticked by and I’ve been licking my wounds.  I sent letters to the power that be who lead Emergency and Patient Engagement Departments in Alberta.  That made me feel better.  Some people didn’t bother to respond, but I did get a nice phone call from the Patient Care Manager at the University of Alberta Hospitals.  So that helped.  The organizers sent word that despite my detractors, my evaluations from my talk had over 90% satisfaction rate.

So I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and to carry on.

Tomorrow’s presentation is at the Canadian Rehabilitation Nurses Association national conference.  Oddly, it is back in Edmonton, and even more oddly, it is in the exact same hotel as my disastrous engagement.  I’ve decided to wear the exact same dress.  I’m going to hold my head high and march up to that podium and deliver my message – which is called ‘The Warm Blankets’ – an ode to nurses.  I’ve scoured my notes for anything controversial – I think I’m safe.  I am going to talk about love, compassion, and how nurses can put the humanity back into health care.

I don’t want to become afraid of public speaking because of what happened two weeks ago.  I don’t want one negative experience to define or muzzle me.  So I’m reluctantly climbing back up on that horse.  I don’t mind telling you that I’m really nervous.  But once the worst thing you could ever imagine happens, it is a bit of a relief to be on the other side of it.  Wish me luck my friends.

7 thoughts on “climbing back up on that horse

  1. Lisa says:

    Hi Sue, I’m just catching up on my favourite blogger and I’m sorry to hear you had such a horrible experience. It’s unfortunate but I believe your vision, skills and inner resources are really helping achieve the change we are all hoping for, even if it doesn’t seem that way at times. Thank you for all that you do for promoting compassionate patient and family centred care. Lisa

  2. sue robins says:

    Hi Lisa! I know you know this reality waaaay better than I do – I’ve been protected from it – USUALLY as a ‘patient/family’ speaker, I get a mulligan from bearing witness to this type of symptom of a hostile work environment. (This reminded me why I dropped out of nursing many years ago).

    Now that I’m back in the ‘system’ – I’m recognizing how many health professionals like you there are out there…toiling away at change…role modelling love and compassion for their patients, despite difficult work environments…without any recognition at all.

    I’ll extend that thank you back to you…our champion in Kelowna.

  3. Monique Davey says:

    Hi Sue,

    I’m one of the organizers from the CARN conference in Edmonton where your were the closing speaker a couple of weeks ago. Your presentation was fabulous and we were truly blessed to have you present at our conference. We just received the evaluations from the participants of the conference and your presentation was scored very good to excellent. Great job and glad you stayed on the horse! All the best.

  4. sue robins says:

    Thank you so much Monique – your comment did my heart well. I’ll keep chugging along with my message – had a brief stumble, but thank you to CARN for supporting me to get back up again…as all good nurses do – look after people when they are at their most vulnerable!

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