Medical book clubs
I have always wondered what people actually do at book clubs besides catch up, drink wine and pass books around. Of the hundreds of people I have asked, I don’t think any have said they actually discuss the books. And then there is the problem of reading the 7 books handed to you each month. Where do these people find the time to read 7 novels a month? I have no problem reading many more journal articles on wound healing and Cancer but it just seems unachievable to sit quietly and read that many books. I have things to do! People to see!
And then I had an epiphany. I have been going to book clubs for years. They have been disguised as ward rounds, interest meetings and presentations. Sneaky little meetings that look like work but are actually about enjoyment and passion. It’s about meeting friends, sharing snacks and making small talk. Sure we meet at hospitals but we still exchange photos of our children, check in on each other’s health and provide much needed hugs that only health care professionals understand or dish out.
You see our patients are the books we like to read. Can you imagine living in your book? Being a part of the end? It’s like real life choose your own adventure. And when we attend the meetings we are all a part of the adventure. We help each other figure out complicated case histories, plan epic treatment plans founded in best practices and evidence and remind each other to keep track of the patients socio-emotional wellbeing. If people are sitting around a table, reviewing the work they did that month at 8:30 in the evening, you know they are passionate. It is a magical experience each and every time.
We do it to look after ourselves too. You see we have rules whereby we cannot talk about patients outside of the medical community and often we work in isolation. Add to this an entire different language we need to communicate in....why is the body described in Latin?....... and it’s a recipe for a lonely world. It’s a book that you immerse yourself in, the type you feel life doesn’t exist past the ending, and then you aren‘t allowed to talk about it at all but even if you did break this rule and tried, you spoke that language from the Avatar movie. So no one understands anyway. Oh and just for good measure, add life altering decisions like amputations, radiation, chemo and unfortunately death. Our book clubs are necessary for us to be able to express and debrief what we ourselves have been going through. We need comfort, support and reassurance that we are on the right track, we are human and this needs to come from someone who fully understands.
And once we have been to our book club our passion is restored. We have new energy to go out there and treat our next book.