AAHPM Assembly 3/6/2010; Saying Goodbye

Leaving a conference like this is always bitter-sweet. Sweet because I miss my family and can’t wait to see them. Bitter because I’m leaving behind mentors, colleagues, old friends and new friends. It’s nice to be amongst a group of people who are very like-minded but still very unique. I didn’t appreciate this fact until I had a conversation with a medical student today and realized how diverse and unique our clinicians are compared to other specialties. Of course, we are the only specialty that has so many different paths (multiple specialties) to the same goal (Hospice and Palliative Medicine Board Certification). Also, the number of Social Workers, Chaplains, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, PA’s and other Allied Health Professionals that come to this meeting further make it special in by bringing their unique training and experiences to the table. What other conference would have such a diverse population of health care providers. I smile to think what a Cardiology or Orthopedic Conference would look like with the above health care providers in attendance. Did I mention that I love my specialty and the amazing people who make it what it is. It was inspiring to hear the different stories my colleagues told me…moments at the bedside of a dying patient, being present for a suffering family, palliating severe pain, counseling patients about goals of care, praying with patients and families, managing symptoms of cancer patients and the list goes on and on. During the daily in’s and out’s of patient care one can easily lose sight of the big picture. We are always on the verge of compassion fatigue, but yet its brief moments in time like this that I cherish. A gathering of people who are…yes, like-minded and unique and inspire me with their stories and their heart to continue to do what I do.

Goodbye Boston, Good bye friends…until next year!

Vancouver is only 11 months away!

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