My first book, Bird’s Eye View: Stories of a Life Lived in Health Care, was published a year ago in October 2019. It's been a hell of a year, hasn't it?
It is a funny thing to write a book. I focused so much on the writing – then the editing – then the publication…that I had no idea what would happen after the book was actually in print. It has been a wild ride.
The book had a wonderful launch at the Gathering of Kindness in November. Then I had a week’s worth of speaking engagements in Toronto in February at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), a Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada event and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
When the pandemic hit in mid-March, everything (for everybody) came screeching to a halt. My book sales and speaking engagements dried up. I had to figure out a different way to amplify the 'humanity in health care for all' message in my book.
I have some friends who are health educators and I knew they were scrambling to convert their in-person teaching materials to on-line versions in the spring.
So voila! My Bird’s Eye View Course Content project was born. The past six months I’ve been taking chunks out of my Bird’s Eye View book and adapting them into course materials for health faculty students. A list of all the current Lesson Plans is here. The Lesson Plans are free so the material is accessible to everybody.
It gave me a sense of meaning to craft the this content during the dark early days of the pandemic. You do not have to read my book to use the content. Many of the Lesson Plans include supplementary readings, audio recordings, graphics, videos, presentations and sample chapters from the book.
I have been thrilled that educators have contacted me to let me know they were using my content for their classes to teach about patient and family centred care. All the educators I’ve heard from happen teach in nursing faculties! (Is this a coincidence or not? Hmmm). These champions of humanity in health care are influencing new nurses, like Dr. Wendy Looman from the University of Minnesota, and Associate Professors Jocelyn Lehman and Tracy Powell at Mount Royal University. Students and their teachers give me hope for the future.
If you have used some of the course materials, please let me know! It is extremely heartening that the words from my book are useful. I’m also available to instructors at no charge for an Author’s Chat session. If you want to bring me to your online class, email: email@example.com and we will set it up.
My Course Content project is coming to a close. I have one more Module, called Let’s Talk About Disability. I’m excited to announce that this last module will be special content in a new eBook of all my course materials that will be available later this year. I’ve posted all my Lesson Plans online on my website, but they are getting unwieldy. So we are working with our graphic designer partners, the wonderful Aaron and Bobbie Mumby to transform that on-line content into an easy-to-read eBook.
On Bird’s Eye View’s birthday, I want to express my gratitude - starting with a thank you to all my readers. A hat tip to those who took the time to write a review on Amazon. (Reviews help, a lot!). I'll be honest: it is hard to independently publish a book. Mainstream media won’t touch you unless you have a major publisher. Most independent bookstores won’t stock your book unless you can prove it is a big seller. It is challenging to market your book on your own, especially if you are an introvert like me. I’m fortunate that my husband/partner Mike Waddingham is a crackerjack cheerleader and marketing whiz. My book never would have seen the light of day without him.
Cheers to the early supporters of my book: Dr. Catherine Crock, Dr. Janice Bell and André Picard. Thank you to Dr. Johny Van Aerde and Dr. Wendy Looman, who wrote reviews in academic journals for the book. I appreciate those who have interviewed me on their podcasts. I’m extremely grateful to my friends and colleagues who work in health care who have supported the messages from Bird’s Eye View: folks who bought the book, those who have engaged me for book talks before and during the pandemic, and the educators who spread the concept of compassion as they teach health faculty students.
I dedicate this next year of Bird’s Eye View to all the patients, families and caregivers who hold an untold story inside of them. I hope my very personal book about my experiences in health care shine a light to help show you a way to share your own stories too.
Happy Birthday to Bird’s Eye View! It is the little book that could. May my call for more humanity in health care for all never go out of style. We need compassion, kindness - and yes, even love - in health care now more than ever.
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