The Launch of Ready for My Surgery by Patrick Nellis
In the Fall 2018 edition of Airwaves, I had the privilege of sharing a little about the progress of my book, Ready for My Surgery: Be Informed, Stay Safe, and Take Control During Your Journey Through Surgery. I wrote this book to help surgical patients and their families better understand the importance of their role, what to expect, and how to prepare. During my research, I was surprised to discover the degree to which engaged patients can positively influence their outcomes. This became a focus of the book, giving patients the insights, knowledge, and tools to participate fully in their care.
I’m excited to share that on February 3rd, 2020, the book was released on Amazon (print & Kindle) and Apple Books. It even landed on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in its category throughout launch week!
It was rewarding to see this work come to fruition. Reflecting back, there were many lessons that stayed with me. We all work on meaningful projects—new practice guidelines, policies, inter-professional initiatives, courses, etc. To share a little of what I learned, the following are a few principles that helped keep me on the right path and focused on the right things. Perhaps they will resonate with you too.
- Collaborate early
The importance of collaboration is undoubtedly clear to you—it is at the core of our work as professionals. The quality of the work we share is also important. We see it as a reflection of ourselves. One piece of writing advice I received along the way was to share my work early, long before I felt like it was ready to be shared. This wasn’t easy to do but it was one of the best decisions I made during the process. The changes, additions, re-shuffling, re-wording, requests, and research were all much easier to integrate early in the process. Whatever your next project may be, consider sharing your work earlier than usual and include all stakeholders. See what happens. I find that not only does the project end up better, but the contributors end up having a sense of ownership in the project as well—they become part of your team and have a stake in seeing the project succeed.
- Think long-term
There were definitely times when I just wanted the book to be finished! It was during those times when I would intentionally remember why I was writing it. I would picture a patient reading my book as they prepared for surgery; not only was this motivating, it also made clear the quality of work that was needed. I made a point to strive for excellence but not get trapped in the pursuit of perfection. My goal for this project was that it remain a valuable resource for years to come, and when it becomes outdated it will be time for the next edition. Thinking about our projects with a long-term lens can prevent us from taking short-cuts and making decisions we end up regretting down the road. Persistence, patience, and embracing the journey helps too.
- Work with empathy and focus on those you seek to serve
I think empathy comes naturally for many healthcare professionals. Much of the reward of working at the bedside comes from the personal and personalized care you provide to your patients. You are more than experts at your craft, you are also experts in reading body language, reading between the lines, and making clinical inferences based on the unique circumstances of the patient in front of you. This guides your actions, communications, and decision-making so that you are providing individualized care. I did my best to remind myself of this early in my writing of this book. My writing practice (they call it practice for good reason) included continuous consideration of the patients and families I was writing for. I did my best to write as if I was sitting beside a real person, sharing insights and discussing their journey in a way that was clear, meaningful, and actionable. Thinking of our audience during the process of building any piece of content—email, charting, presentations, posters, papers, articles—gives greater clarity in your communications and provides your audience more value. I believe this is a great everyday practice.
I’ll finish with this—don’t take for granted what you know. We all have a unique set of experiences and knowledge that others would love to tap into. I encourage you to share it with them. If you have a book in you (you know who you are), don’t let it go unwritten. I’ve only done this once so far, but I’d be glad to share what I’ve learned along the way. Feel free to get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) if I can help make the process a little easier.
The book has become part of the Ready for My Surgery program—a new surgical patient engagement program designed with a unique approach to patient education that serves to better connect and integrate patients with their healthcare team. To learn more about the book and the Ready for My Surgery program, visit www.readyformysurgery.com. To pick up a copy of the book, simply search the title in Amazon or Apple Books.