Talking at SMACC Gold seemed like such a good idea in advance – and it was a wonderful (if faintly terrifying!) experience.
When I came up with this title (yes – I was in the privileged position of picking the title of my own talk), I had envisioned something totally SMACC – a completely tweetable talk full of nuggets of other people’s wisdom about seeing kids in the ED. And I had exactly that two weeks before the conference; more than forty amazing gems collected from paediatric specialists I admire.
And the slides were exactly as I’d imagined – practically no text, simply images which communicated the points I was making and would serve a dual purpose of reinforcing the wisdom and reminding me what I was meant to be saying.
The problem was – it was dreadfully dry.
You see, good talks and educational lectures need to have a story. Nowhere is this more apparent than at SMACC where the power of narrative is given equal weighting alongside clinical innovation. And rehearsing what I was going to say felt so uncomfortable – there was no thread, no story. I had originally started my pre-talk planning as I always do with a storyboard trying to link the ideas but it hadn’t really worked and I didn’t really know what to do or how to fix it. Panic began to set in…
Luckily I spent the week before SMACC in Fiji alongside two wonderful and passionate educators, Iain Beardsell and Nick Jenkins. Watching and learning from them (and in particular reflecting on Iain’s rehearsal for his talk at SMACC) was exactly what I needed. I re-thought my talk as more of a paediatrics pep talk, focusing instead on the ethos of paediatric EM and the ways we can think differently about treating and understanding children. If we get this right, I think we can improve the experiences of our patients and their families, improving experiences of healthcare and investing in their future attendances. And when we see the terrible things that are thankfully a rarity in PEM we can take comfort and solace knowing that we did everything we could when it mattered the most.
With a renewed focus I hacked out about 50% of the original content and totally restructured the talk – and here it is. A labour of love for PEM.
The video from the end of my talk:
I would absolutely love to know what you think.
The original paeds tips you can find on twitter under the #paedstips hashtag.
Addendum 2/7/2014: Huge thanks due to Gerard Fennessy whose calm council as chair of the concurrent was instrumental in settling my last-minute nerves. Cheers!