Friday, February 18, 2011

The power of relationships

It's been almost two weeks since we arrived in South Africa. During these last two weeks I have frequently found myself humbled by the depth of caring and love I have felt both personally and professionally. Every day staff from our sister hospice greet us with smiles and hugs and are so appreciative of us being here. The Wits staff are overjoyed about the OTC supplies we brought (thank you again for your generous donations), the trainings we provided, and the resource materials we brought. Most importantly they are thankful for the gift of our friendship; and so are we.

Relationships are based on mutual respect, admiration, and the desire to provides support. We are a much better hospice because of our relationship with Hospice Wits. We have learned so much from our sister hospice and are bringing back many ideas we hope to implement. Do not think that we are only the teachers; we are also so clearly students here. I have learned much about what it means to be a leader and how to support staff during times of transition. I have learned how to be more creative in utilizing staff. I have learned how to really hear what our patients are saying to us and how to respond to what is deepest in their hearts. Traveling with Deb, David, and Gayle has helped me to better understand the power of team and how the sum is much much greater than the individual parts. I am committed to sharing all of these lessons and so much more upon my return.

How do you try and describe the bond we feel? How do you find the right words to describe the strong connection we have- over 9000 miles away- over land and ocean? Can you remember a time you felt alone and uncertain and how you were helped knowing that there was someone else who cared, even if that someone wasn't around the corner? That's what our partnership is all about. It is a way to live the mission and vision of Suncoast Hospice. It's about ensuring that everyone has access to hospice and palliative care, that all human beings are treated with dignity and respect, and that all of us on this wonderful spinning planet we inhabit together are much more alike than we are different.

It's also about so much more. We're currently in Cape Town, mixing a bit of pleasure with work. Even here, as we laugh together and enjoy the most amazing scenery, we're providing support to each other. As we walked on Table Mountain today, we shared work stories and offered support and guidance. As we drove on the highway and saw the many shantytowns that stretched for miles and miles we looked at all of them so that we could bear witness to how so many people in this world live. Most of all we honor each other and by doing so, honor everyone reading this blog.

I am grateful for being a Suncoast Hospice employee and for the opportunity to serve our hospice world in this capacity. Thank you for what you do each and every day to make a difference in Pinellas County and around the world.

In gratitude,

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