Friday, June 6, 2008

Time Away is Time Well Spent

Tomorrow I leave for McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario to attend a week-long program on how to teach evidence-based medicine in the classroom and the clinic. The program is led by some of the main individuals involved in the EBM movement, including Dr. Mark Wilson (from University of Iowa) and Dr. Gordon Guyatt, and looks to be a fairly intensive educational experience, one I am looking forward to, albeit with some trepidation. After all, because I am the sole chiropractor to attend, I have been assigned to work in collaboration with the family medicine specialists. After that program ends, I get to spend some time with family, both in Detroit and in Vancouver, BC Canada. So the next couple of weeks will combine business with pleasure, and I will be largely unable to update this blog during that time.

But that allows me to note how important it is that all of us have time to relax, as well as time to enhance our skills. I think the two go together in important ways. Grabbing the time to relax came hard to me; I spent years working days, nights and weekends and only later in my life did I learn to let some of these times go, that not working was important as well. Like most of us, I have outside interests not related to my professional life. It is always interesting to me to hear what people do in their spare time, what they collect, what they are passionate about. While still a member of the research department and attending a regular weekly research council meeting shortly after Dr. Choate had arrived, she opened the meeting by asking people to describe something they collect. What a interesting meeting that was! Even though I worked closely with the people in that group, there were interesting things about them I never knew- and in some cases there were commonalities in their interests and mine that led to better relations among us. In the end, what that means is more productivity, better relationships and more effective collaboration, all important in our high-pressure setting.

At the Davenport campus, we are all soon heading for some time off; the other campuses work on different schedules but also either will have or just did have time away. The time away will let each of us recharge our batteries and return ready for a new term. It’s necessary. I think we work better when we have some time to not work at all. To pursue our interests, whatever they are. In my case, I get passionate about a lot of things; music, for example. Over the course of 40 years of collecting, I’ve amassed a collection of LPs, cassette tapes and CDs of over 5000 items. Much of it is jazz and unusual forms of music: energy jazz, avante-garde classical music, Zeuhl music (a branch of French progressive music spear-headed by the legendary progressive band Magma). I read tons of media analysis, for programs such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, CSI, Lost and House. I’m into photography. And so my time at home is spent pursuing these activities- which often means I am watching television. But with that critical media eye, of course!

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