International Nursing Conference in Jerusalem

Preparing: We’re off to Israel on Monday. We’ll land in Tel Aviv Tuesday morning and have 3 days to explore the city and connect with a few people. Hoping to get to Jaffa and the northern coast as well before boarding a train to Jerusalem.

Monday, May 28 – we are now on our way. The first indication that we are flying to Israel – with its vulnerability to violence and terrorist attacks – is the double security check at the airport, first entering the departure gates and second entering the specific gate for the flight to Tel Aviv.

Tuesday – arrival at Ben Gurion airport and taxi to Park Plaza Orchid after an uneventful overnight flight with no sleep. All the customs agents are young women! Easy process.
Wednesday – fascinating hike to Old City of Jaffa, many good pictures on the way and managing to overcome the jet lag. We want to be fresh when we get to Jerusalem and the conference. View from our hotel is spectacular.
Thursday – City tour of Tel Aviv-Jofa and lots more pictures. Doing well with jet lag. Clocks are set 7 hours ahead of Toronto time – like much of Europe.
Friday – arrival in Jerusalem by car via highway 443 that winds directly through Palestininan land and hillside villages. State of the art highway has been built and is maintained by Israel via an agreement between the 2 countries – and lots of barbed wire and high stone walls! Apparently it’s “very safe”. We weren’t at all concerned. Arrival in Jerusalem was a treat. It is a very beautiful city. Out hiking to see the sights and into the Old City via the Jaffa Gate. It’s very hot in the day and cool at night. Very blue skies most of the day and the search for shade is constant even for sun lovers like me! Today is the holy day in the Muslim tradition but we don’t see much change in the city. We are told there are 1000 synagogues, 500 mosques and 200 Christian churches in this city of 700,000. Population of Israel is said to be 7million although I’m sure it’s very hard to make an accurate count.
Saturday – Its the Sabbath in the Jewish tradition and the city is quiet and we take time to see the important sights in the Old City. This time we enter by the Dung Gate and run into a young Muslim man who wants to guide us for a very large sum. We decline because we’re not sure what we would get ourselves into. There are many people who want to sell you something – maybe it’s a hard scrabble life for many – but what you agree to seems to grow significantly and the stories that emerge change with the telling.
We see King David’s tomb and I am told by a very old woman drinking coke that I can’t go in to the women’s entrance because I’m not a Jewess. Perhaps because it’s the Sabbath. There’s not much to see anyway. We see the room where purportedly the Last Supper was held and it’s a beautiful room but not much evidence that anything happened there – It was destroyed and rebuilt in the 15thC by the Turks – no windows such as the one in Da Vincis Last Supper. We see an older painted replication of The Last Supper. It’s fascinating to be in these thousand++ year old places but hard to tell myth from legend from truth. I am pleased to find delightful colleagues from Montfort Hospital in Ottawa at the Inbal Conference site.

Sunday – The Holy Day in the Christian tradition, and a normal work school day in Jerusalem. We find a city tour bus and take a 3 hour tour some of it very interesting and much of the dialogue either hard to understand or spoken very quickly. Glad we did it though as it was ovall very interesting , informative and included parts of the Muslim section which we wouldn’t otherwise see as its quite a distance from our hotel.

Monday – as well as registering at the conference we spent seveal hours visiting the Israel Museum, which is fantastic and houses the Story of the Book – the Dead Sea Scrolls – beautifully positioned and curated in a climate-controlled building designed to resemble the jars inside which many were found. The gardens are magnificent, full of olive trees, rosemary bushes, lavender and amazingly a beautiful rose garden that is thriving despite the tremendous heat and hot sun all day. We have been resting and swimming at the King David Hotel in the heat of the afternoons. It’s a sister hotel to ours in the Dan chain. Ours is quite basic but comfortable.

Tuesday – Today we toured the Tower of David which was both interesting – with a well curated history of this land going back 4000 years – and a beautiful archeogical site built into the Old City wall between the Jaffa and the Dung gates. Lots of school children visiting as well with energy that if bottled could power the country. I loaded and tested my slides at the conference site and met with a few people.

Wednesday – Back to the Israel Museum to see the things we missed and the presentation at the conference which went well. Interest from Hebrew Unversity in Jerusalem and from the University of Arkansas in pursuing a similar track and I will follow up when I gt back to the office.

Thursday – We’re a little at odds today wanting to tackle something big but also not so energetic. We have 2 more days here n Jerusalem.

Mandela and Leadership

I was listening to an HBR webcast yesterday – an interview with Christiane Amanpour, who has always interested me, on Leadership. One of the things she said really struck a cord. She said “leadership is not a zero sum game” – an expression that has long confused me and which I now understand more clearly. She said: “As a leader, you have to look for the win – win for yourself and for the other. She used Mandela’s desire and ability to build relationship with De Klerk as an example and she talked about understanding the other’s perspective so that you can find the win-win and enable others to act. This is something I have always believed in and tried to practice and teach/coach. With her gift of communication, she expressed it so well and so easily.

Leadership and Patient Safety

We often hear about the need for leadership in health care practice. Yet for many, the word leader is just another buzzword. We often think leaders are born not made, and leadership is for others with important titles, nice offices and assistants at the door.

Our experiences with the Dorothy Wylie Nursing and Health Leaders Institute, now in its 10th year with over 2300 alumni, provide us with a different mental model. We believe that building leadership skills and developing leadership competence and confidence is important for every health professional. We believe leadership makes a profound difference in the quality of care patients receive. We believe that health professionals who see themselves as leaders will make a difference in every patient and family interaction. Continue reading “Leadership and Patient Safety”

Leadership at the Movies: Invictus and 5 Leadership Practices

Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood have created another very special movie now playing across North America. Invictus is the story of Nelson Mandela’s early days as President of South Africa, and particularly how he viewed the country’s Rugby team, the Springboks, and an upcoming World Cup event to be held in South Africa, as an opportunity to bring the country together.

The year is 1995. Mandela (Freeman) is in his first term as President. He recognizes the tremendous challenges facing his government in a land torn apart by apartheid. Racial tensions are at an all time high, people are struggling with the effects of crippling unemployment, and a new black government has shifted the balance of political power. Continue reading “Leadership at the Movies: Invictus and 5 Leadership Practices”

Courage and Tenacity: Qualities of Leaders

I was in Trafalgar Square in London England recently and made a point of finding Edith Clavell’s memorial in St Martin’s Place. Like all great leaders, no matter the arena, Edith Clavell had great courage and much tenacity.  During the first World War, she was a nurse who remained in Brussels, Belgium, after the Germans occupied the city early in the war, tending to wounded soldiers from all countries at the Red Cross Hospital.

In addition to this work, Clavell helped captured British, French and Belgian soldiers escape to the neutral Netherlands, where most would eventually make it across the channel to England.  Born on December 4, 1865 in Swardeston, England, she has been described as a “vivacious, tree-climbing girl who grew into the determined, severe woman we see in the statue.”  She has been further described as “headstrong and independent” and thus prevented from attracting “a man of money” and it is said that ” she was too proud to accept a lesser one”.   She never married, but devoted her life to nursing.

Here is an account of her work from the diary of a man she nursed back to health:

In 1915 Miss Clavell was directress of l’Ecole Belge d’ Infirmieres Diplomees, as well as a new hospital, St. Gilles, both training women for the profession of nursing.  As the great war engulfed Belgium Miss Clavell became part of an underground resistance network working in Brussels to help men escape.  She protected hospitalized men by keeping them longer than they needed.  When there were no beds available, Edith sheltered men in the hospital’s attic and cellar.  In this way, she helped approximately two hundred men escape the Germans.  On August 4, 1915, after months of observation, the Germans arrested Edith and others sheltering Belgian soldiers.  On October 7, 1915, Edith Clavell, along with others in the underground network were found guilty of resistance activities and sentenced to death by firing squad.  Despite American, French and Spanish intercession, Edith’s sentence was not commuted.  On October 12, 1915, Edith was executed by German firing squad.

Edith Clavell was 49 years old when she was shot to death.  “Her life and death make me think of the line from The Dead Poets Society when Robin Williams’ character, Mr Keatings says to his students:  “Make something of yourselves, boys.   Make you life count!