Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Coming & Going

'There's a statue of an ice cream, with a cherry on a spoon, in the park Dad!'  Such is the nature of memory, inventing details of the reality that you wish existed, even if it doesn't.  This is my 4 year old son's description of seeing Claes Oldenburg's Spoonbridge & Cherry piece at the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis.  There's no ice cream, but it's still present.

As I've alluded to on the blog before, my sort-of hiatus from Pallimed has been due to me packing up my family and moving to Minneapolis, where I'm now working as
the HPM Fellowship Program Director at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and as a palliative consultant at the U of MN Medical Center - Fairview hospitals.  My wife's from here, we met here during medical school, and as kids and parents are getting older, we decided to move back home.  I was able to find a position as a fellowship director ('It's like I'm talking to that blog of yours all day' is what a fellow of mine in Milwaukee once said about working with me) that I couldn't say no to in a nice convergence of the personal and the professional.

I've been thinking a lot in the last couple months about new teams and institutions, and leaving old and beloved ones (Hi Milwaukee team: I'm thinking about you).   It's a delight to get to work with a new team - there are new rituals, codes, ways of talking with each other, and variations on doing things (there's an element that's similar to being at a conference and running into acquaintances and asking How do you do handle this when it happens? etc.).   I'll probably be commenting on it in the next few months.  My initial observations are pretty mundane:

  1. Palliative consultant team challenges are the same everywhere (being consulted too late, etc.).  Same everywhere.  
  2. Besides colleagues and team-members you enjoy working with, the biggest thing you leave when you leave is your reputation.  I've considered re-inventing myself now that I'm in a new institution  and no one knows me (start shaving & wearing a bow-tie?), but I kinda like who I am.  That's been the shock - walking through wards and not knowing everyone and knowing that I have a sense where they're coming from and they have a sense where I'm coming from.  Strange feeling.

Image from Wikipedia.

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