Osler's Emergency Department Book Club is pushing the boundaries of compassion, empathy and kindness reconnecting us to our purpose as health care providers.

ED Book Club reminds health care workers of their 'why'

In 2019-20, the ED Book Club, which was started in 2016 by a group of physicians, nurses and administrative staff from Brampton Civic Hospital's Emergency Department, continued to meet with Osler colleagues to discuss books that focus on the themes of compassion, empathy and kindness.

"With health care workers often facing burnout, the Book Club provides an invaluable opportunity for us to pause and reconnect with the innate purpose that drew us to this field," said Dr. Jeff Handler, Emergency Department physician and co-founder of the club with Dr. Prashant Phalpher.

Though the club was founded years before the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been especially relevant as health care professionals and the patients and families they support face some of the biggest challenges of their lives.

The club met in person in September to discuss The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle, a book about cultural chemistry and transforming individuals into teams in order to accomplish amazing things. Going forward the club is switching to a virtual format to adhere to social distancing, but the focus remains the same.

"Every book we read provides us with opportunities for learning that translates into kinder, more compassionate and empathetic patient care.  Our learnings enable us to make more meaningful connections with patients and their families, and provide a sense of resilience for patients, families and ourselves," said Dr. Phalpher.

Congress of Inspiration focuses on the power of kindness


The ED Book Club is also the brains behind Osler's Congress of Inspiration. The 2nd annual event was held in November and is a "day devoted to understanding why we do what we do for patient care," said Dr. Handler. CBC's very own house doctor and veteran Emergency Room physician, Dr. Brian Goldman, kicked off the event with a conversation about the power of kindness – a topic near and dear to his heart and the title of his latest book.

Other highlights of the event included: an update by Dr. Naveed Mohammad, President and CEO, on the Sun Life Osler Global Health Program; an overview of the work being done by Dr. Naheed Dosani, palliative care physician, and Namarig Ahmed, Registered Nurse, to address health care inequities by providing and advocating for palliative care for the homeless; and an interactive panel about the need for Service with Kindness from former Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Bob Bell.