Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Personal Battle - March 2021 - Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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• Have courageous conversations. Holding listening sessions with a diverse group of individuals can be a powerful and rewarding experience. Many of us come from various cultural back- grounds and have different lived experiences. It's easy to dismiss the experiences of another person if they're vastly different than our own. However, it's difficult to ignore shared stories from a group of people with similar cultural back- grounds. Listening to them and suspending your dis- belief about their viewpoints is a valuable exercise. Ensure that people who want to participate in lis- tening sessions feel welcome and comfortable doing so. The conversations should be open forums, but not mandatory. Everyone involved in the con- versation should be interested in being there. Establish basic parameters first, such as respect- ful listening, to ensure the dialogue is productive. Also allow the group to come up with guidelines that they believe will help guide the conversations. • Work with a facilitator. Make sure whoever is facilitating the conversation is well versed in the unique skillset that role requires. The facilitator shouldn't dictate what people talk about or have an agenda of the outcome. They should enter the ses- sion with conversation prompts and an open mind, and work to find the conversations that the partici- pants are wanting to have. • Ensure adequate representation. It helps if at least one of the facilitators comes from a historical- ly marginalized identity. Additionally, you must ensure adequate representation within the discus- sion group. Discussions or decisions pertaining to a specific group must involve representation and direct participation from members of the group. To be blunt: A room full of white people shouldn't talk about their perceptions of the minority experience. However, they would have an excellent opportunity to discuss what a white ally is and what it means to be an advocate for minorities. The impact of what is said is often different than the intent, but facilitators must be willing to step in as necessary if hurtful dialogue could further harm members of historically marginalized groups. Facilitators could ask, "How could someone mis- interpret what you just said?" That gives someone an opportunity to roll back their comment and say it in a different way. • Develop action steps. Honest conversations are important, but it's equally important to commit to incorporating takeaways into the listening ses- sion, through follow-up steps for your group or for you as an individual. Take notes during listening sessions (avoid recording them so participants feel more comfortable sharing) and summarize for the group key thematic takeaways. Follow up with the participants two, three and six months later to ask about the strides they've taken to meet the action steps they developed after listening to and learning from others. These follow-ups should be gentle reminders to recenter their efforts on the commit- ments they made. After participating in open dialogues about diver- sity, you'll develop skills that can be applied to other conversations with people who challenge what you've been taught to believe through culture, the media and society. A first step History, data and statistics are important to pro- mote inclusion in our society, but personal stories and experiences can make an even greater impact in fostering a greater understanding among people of diverse cultural backgrounds. Perhaps listening to others will help you enter DEI work where you're most comfortable. From there you can begin the journey from uninformed to informed, from informed to concerned, and from concerned to called to action. OSM Ms. Dimitriadis is managing partner and chief impact officer and Ms. Rideaux is managing partner and chief operations officer of Conversation Starters, a firm based in Lafayette, La., that fos- ters authentic relationships through transparent dialogue. They can be reached at info@startwithconversation.com. M A R C H 2 0 2 1 • O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y . N E T • 1 7 The impact of what is said is often different than the intent.

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