Updated: Dec 6, 2020
I struggled mightily in the early days of the pandemic. My first book, Bird’s Eye View, had been released just four months before in October 2019. I was thrilled to have momentum building in the first few months of 2020 for my messages of compassion and humanity from my book.
Of course, like everybody else, my life came screeching to a halt in mid-March 2020 when the pandemic was declared. All my book engagements naturally got cancelled and my book sales plummeted.
I became very down in the dark days last spring. I did not feel useful, except to be my son’s on-call teacher, educational assistant, therapist and butler. While these are worthy jobs, I felt as if I had been fired from my job as a book author. It was a loss, not just of income, but of my book, which really represented my life’s work in health care advocacy.
In May, I crawled out of my hole and put on my big girl pants. I also co-own a communications company, and we always ask our clients these questions when considering their audience:
What is their biggest problem?
What do they need?
I knew from having my son at home that online materials for students were hard to find and that teachers were struggling to adapt their in-person materials to our new online reality.
Accessible Web-Based Lesson Plans
What people needed were accessible web-based lesson plans. My purpose for being in the midst of the pandemic became to create bite-sized chunks of information from my book with interactive multi-media elements.
Slowly, slowly, I took the main themes from Bird’s Eye View and adapted them into modules with associated lesson plans. The themes that emerged were:
Compassion in Health Care
Patient Centred Care
Patient + Health Professional Storytelling
Creating this course material gave me meaningful work. I am thankful that I had fabulous nursing professors like Dr. Wendy Looman from the University of Minnesota and Associate Professors Jocelyn Lehman and Tracy L. Powell from Mount Royal University reach out to let me know they were using the content for their classes. I needed this external validation to keep going.
It took me five months to create all the lesson plans and I posted them one by one up on my website. I wanted them to be accessible to all students, so all the course content is totally free. I won’t lie – if folks buy my book after reading my course content, that’s a bonus. But the point of the course content is not to sell books.
Little Bird's Why
Little Bird’s 'why' or purpose is to get the word out to health faculty students about the importance of listening to understand patient experiences. This approach supports students to become more compassionate health professionals.
All that content on my webpages turned out to be pretty messy. You had to click and click to go down a rabbit hole to access the pages. It didn't look great on a smartphone. As I got closer to finishing up the lesson plans, I wanted to compile all the content into one, easy-to-read package.
That is how the Little Bird eBook was conceived.
Our company, Bird Communications, works with the brilliant designers at Aaron Mumby Design. Bobbie Mumby masterfully took all my messy webpages and created one easy-to-read eBook with all my lesson plan materials. The bird illustrations are from talented Vancouver artist Jacqueline Robins.
Little Bird features all my course content in one place. It is lovely to look at, phone-friendly and contains all the interactive links for the audio clips, videos, presentations and references from my lesson plans. It also contains a new module called ‘Let’s Talk About Disability’ which features my son Aaron Waddingham.
Little Bird is my pandemic project. It takes the concepts from my book and transforms them into bite-sized lesson plans. I hope it is useful – and maybe even a little bit fun - for folks wishing to champion humanity in health care. Please share this link to download this free eBook far and wide!
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