Edwina Nearhood: Us plus them equals we


Today’s society has become very me-centered. Everyone is looking only to serve their wants and needs and not at the good of the whole. 

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If we were to use cancer as a metaphor, the definition of cancer is the disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body, or, a malignant growth or tumor resulting from the division of abnormal cells, or, a practice or phenomenon perceived to be evil or destructive and hard to contain or eradicate.

When we have a bunch of single interest groups looking to grow uncontrollably, we find abnormal growth. I think it would be fair to say that resource-based communities often fall into this category of abnormal growth that is closely connected to world commodity pricing, which his connected to global wants and needs.

In the healthcare world, there is a hierarchy of power that is embedded in the design of the system. A wise doctor once said systems create exactly what they are designed to do. Currently, there has been a realization that the healthcare system is in need of a systematic overhaul to create a safer, better quality of care. That’s a challenge when all stakeholders are not represented equally at the table. “They” have created a system that is dependent on “them” and what they will give “us.” Doesn’t this sound like colonialism?. 

Spending more money on healthcare does not create a better quality of care. More money and more staff do not create a better quality of care. Understand the distortion in the system, look at the outdated or untrue rules (because I said so) and myths (we always do it this way) within the system that create hierarchy, power inequities, distortions, and inefficiencies. Promoting a healthcare system that is patient-centered not physician-centered results in patient activation, empowers communities to promote wellness, and treats the entire person not just a symptom. 

Chronic disease can be treated from an entirely different lens of risk assessment when supports are offered at early childhood. Early childhood development is a community solution. It takes a village to raise a child. Unfortunately, we have stepped away from that model and our communities are very self-centered expecting a system to solve the problems. Systems create what they are designed to do. They are reactive, doctor-centered, dependent on an outdated model.

Northern B.C. has something that much of the rest of the province is lacking. We have strong communities. We can pull together and support one another. We can get the job done. When there’s an industry that is hurting, or a crisis in need, or a family in trouble, we come together and raise funds or find a solution. Often the solutions come in the form of working together.

A new nursing program is under development to train our nurses locally. Retention happens when people are appreciated and supported by their communities. I propose the people of Fort St. John come together and start celebrating the important people in our lives that make a difference. Come into a room with the nurses of all ages and listen to their challenges, wants and needs. We need to celebrate the many initiatives and successes of our people or health care professionals, our industry leaders and so on.

What happens if we start turning the lens in a different direction, from what can they do for us to how can we work together? Together we are stronger. Together means no one is left behind.

Us + Them = We.

Edwina Nearhood is a life-long resident of Fort St. John, with 30 years experience in the appraisal industry. 

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