Close to 100 physicians from the Vancouver Community of Care gathered recently for a VPSA networking event that provided an opportunity for members to get to know colleagues from across specialties and sites. The chance to break down barriers and silos was a common theme throughout the evening.
“We are 1,900 members and many tribes,” acknowledged VPSA co-chair Dr. Lyne Filiatrault when she addressed the group. “It’s natural that we talk with people we know. But we’re stronger when we engage with all our colleagues at VGH, UBC Hospital and GF Strong. That’s what VPSA is here for. Our raison d’ être is to create the best place to work and provide the best patient care in the community and the hospitals where we practice.”
The desire for more cross-division collaboration was echoed by those attending.
“[The event was] an excellent opportunity to meet and discuss common concerns with more colleagues outside of one’s usual ‘circle’ and in a relaxed social setting… more of this, please!” wrote one physician in a follow-up survey.
“The best aspect was the simple community building [that comes from] getting together with a group of doctors that I don’t see enough,” wrote another.
Advocating for a physician lounge
One of VPSA’s strategies for building the physician community is to see the return of a physician lounge at VGH.
“At our September 2017 social event we had a dotmocracy poster and the number one thing you told us you want was a lounge,” Dr. Lynn Straatman, who leads VPSA’s Collaboration and Advocacy Committee, told the physicians gathered at the networking event. “The research is clear… when lounges left hospitals, engagement dropped dramatically. Many US hospitals are now bringing these back and VCH’s administration is receptive to the idea. What we need to demonstrate is that the desire for a lounge is widespread and to provide feedback on what we think this space will look like.”
Small Steps, Big Idea
Physicians attending the networking evening were reminded of the Small Steps, Big Idea funding now available to them.
“One way to build community is by doing things together that everyone cares about,” said Dr. Bob Woollard, member of VPSA’s engagement projects committee. “Small Steps, Big Idea brings people together who might not normally collaborate.”
Funding from $1,000 to $5,000 is available to develop concepts that will engage physicians and their colleagues, improve patient care, develop better communication, and/or build relationships across specialties, departments and with community members. More information on Small Steps, Big Idea funding can be found here.