TEDxTalk From PhD RN Elaine Meyer “On Being Present, Not Perfect” in Healthcare

tedtalk medical simulation

At IMSH 2015 I had the privilege of meeting Elaine C. Meyer, PhD, RN, in her capacity as Chair of the Affiliations committee for the Society of Simulation in Healthcare, and the Director of the Institute for Professionalism & Ethical Practice at Boston Children’s Hospital. Learning about her role as Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, Elaine and I started to talk about our shared mission to better the world by addressing the changes that need to come into healthcare communication. She informed me of her TEDxTalk on the very subject and I knew we had to share it on HealthySim! In her intimate talk, Dr. Meyer draws on both professional and personal experience to illustrate the profound gaps in healthcare communication and how to close them.

On Being Present, Not Perfect


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The conversations that matter most in healthcare are often the most sensitive and challenging.  From conveying serious diagnoses to ethical quandaries surrounding end-of-life care, these conversations are the bedrock of the patient-provider relationship.  When they go well, patients’ health outcomes, trust, and satisfaction with care are enhanced.  In her highly regarded TEDTalk, “On Being Present, Not Perfect” Elaine C. Meyer, PhD, RN draws on both professional and personal experience to illustrate the profound gaps in healthcare communication and how to close them.  She unveils her vision to establish an emotional standard of care for patients and their families through honest, direct and genuine healthcare conversations.  She introduces the “one-room schoolhouse” educational approach and shares the Wizard of Oz metaphor blending Courage, Brains and Heart to guide healthcare conversations.  She also provides a helpful companion Facilitator’s Guide to deepen the learning potential of the Talk.

Elaine suggested to me at IMSH, that sometimes, change comes one conversation at a time. If this talk touches you, please share with your colleagues, friends and family. Together, we can help spread the word that these healthcare conversations matter deeply and that, indeed, we are called upon to be present, not perfect.

For more information, visit the Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice or email Elaine!


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