Pre-conference spotlight – Do no yarn: Sharing stories as community building and reflection in medicine

September 6, 2022 | Author: Royal College Staff

We sat down with Allison Crawford, MD, to discuss in-depth the details of this pre-conference course scheduled for Wednesday, October 26 at ICRE 2022.  

Q: What is the most important lesson(s) that you want participants to learn?

A: I want participants to experience how the arts might support community building and well being amongst health providers. 

Q: Why should participants register for your pre-conference course? 

A: Come to our workshop if you want to be part of an open group interested in exploring arts-based methods to support coping and community among healthcare providers. We will focus on narrative, and on the use of a sharing circle to collectively elaborate on meanings that emerge across the group. We will provide an overview of the evidence and methods linking the arts and well being for healthcare providers and provide some ‘take-home’ pointers for starting activities in your contexts. 

Q: In terms of joy, wellness, wellbeing, burnout and moral injury, is there a trend you are witnessing in health care practice today? What should participants know and how can they apply any lessons to their practice?

A: As many are aware, burnout and moral injury have increased in our profession and in other healthcare professions, and this has been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic. We also know that the reasons for this burnout are not failures or limitations within an individual, but are rooted in systemic and organizational failures.

We approach burnout and wellbeing as a collective challenge, and we look to the arts for some tools to support exploration, dialogue, and to build community that is necessary to flourish and return joy to practice. Participants do not need to come with any experience or knowledge. 

Q: In terms of the object or image that participants are invited to bring, can you please give an example?

A: We are inviting people to bring an object or image that they associate with their own coping or wellbeing. This is highly personal and could be anything from a paperclip to a toadstool. Please, no live pets!   

Q: Anything else you wanted to add?

A: Beyond providing the evidence linking wellbeing and the arts, what we really aim to do is build a community of people interested in arts-based methods for health professions’ wellbeing. We view this as an open, creative beginning.