Employee Giving Campaign: Where Does the Money Go?

Annie Wood's Story

04/15/16  Portland, Ore.

April's Employee Giving Campaign is in full swing, with clinics engaging in a little friendly competition to see who can donate the most. But where exactly does the money go? Donations to the Department of Family Medicine play a huge part in helping our colleagues achieve certifications and further their education, and are used by clinics to assist our patients in need. To tell her own story of professional development, South Waterfront's Annie Wood has written an article about how she used these funds to fine tune her communication skills to help patients in times of extreme crisis.

"As many know, at the end of 2015, I stepped down from my full time leadership role at FMSW to return to school full-time and finish my BS in Public Health/Geriatrics. I was drawn to this particular class because it fit my intended career path - working in a family educator role in palliative care and/or hospice care (i.e. helping people die well, and helping families cope well with the death/dying of their person).

The classwork emphasized different cultural attitudes and practices around death, dying and grief, which led to great discussion of other cultural attitudes as well. We did a lot of work around listening skills, and discussed strategies for navigating complex logistic conversations with people in intense emotional states. 

Our group talked at length about vulnerability and relatability, how to develop rapport and trust with individuals in 'crisis' mode. We also focused on normalizing conversations around death; helpful v. less helpful reactions to emotions of those with terminal diagnoses and their family/friends; and how to encourage early conversations and planning for end of life care and death care preferences. We also spent some time discussing work related to preparation and care of the body post-mortem and ceremonial practices.

The PAS role is all about communication, and being able to navigating complex logistic conversations with people in intense emotional states. I have been able to bring that skill set back to my interactions with patients. I have found it easier to set aside the hubbub and the noisy din of the clinic around me, and really hone in on caring for and connecting with one patient at a time."

Annie WoodTo make a donation to continue support of professional development of our teammates, click here.

Photo: Annie's serious line of work is best balanced with a superb sense of humor, which she carries out effortlessly.