Don’t forget and regret – lessons from Bear Creek Falls

Many of the faculty and students at this year’s Telluride Patient Safety Summer Camp Roundtable took part in a hike up to Bear Creek Falls this morning. A stunning visual reminder of the majestic beauty that is this part of the country. The hike began with us all meeting in the town of Telluride and we walked over the river and into the woods.

At the trailhead was signage welcoming hikers to the trail, and providing insights and facts to parts of the hike to the water fall. Each numbered narrative entry corresponded to a part of the map further along the trail – number 1 corresponded to the spot where we were standing – it was a note of welcome, orientation and reiteration of the good citizen expectations.

I only read the sign at the end of the hike and was particularly drawn to the final stop, the falls, number 14 – the words that described the stunning falls that we had just witnessed…Week2_Students_Bear_Creak_Falls-768x1024

14: Bear Creek Falls

Just stand there, beneath the Falls. The splendor needs no words: You simply belong.

Fortunately, we can continue to belong because local people have taken pragmatic steps and personal responsibility to purchase and restore Bear Creek as public open space.

Look around where you live and notice what is happening. It may be painful. If it is, don’t just forget and regret. Your acts of stewardship can truly matter. They have in Bear Creek.

As we completed the hike, enter into the final day of this incredible opportunity for honest, brave conversation around improving patient safety, and now ready ourselves to return home; I thought that ‘Bear Creek Falls #14’ can also applies to each of us:

Safe, transparent, compassionate care

Just stand there, with the stories of harm, loss, fear, hope, and encouragement. The reality needs no words: You simply belong.

Fortunately, we can continue to do this work because people have come before you, continue to lead, continue to learn, and have taken pragmatic steps and personal responsibility to lean in and restore safe, patient-centric care as a human right.

Look around where you work and notice what is happening. It may be painful.

If it is, don’t just forget and regret. Your brave acts of compassion, leadership, collaboration and transparency can truly matter. They have for all those that have come before you, and will for those that follow in your footsteps.

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