We are all caregivers: nurses, social workers, orderlies, family caregivers, administrative assistants, doctors, managers, volunteers, ethicists, peer helpers, ambulance attendants, community organizers, patient partners, midwives, teachers and health researchers.
We are also parents, daughters and sons, spouses, brothers and sisters, neighbors and citizens. Sick and healthy, we take turns needing care.
In our profession as in our lives, taking care is a natural way of relating. But our ability to take care is weakened. It expresses itself in exhaustion, depression, anxiety, illnesses, loss of meaning and disengagement. Departures and resignations are just the tip of the iceberg.
The “little revolution” we need is not a financial or technological revolution, any more than structural reform. We are not short of money or praise. We are aware of our privileges and our duties.
We need a “revolution of meaning”. Need to find the heart of what drives us. Need to have time to be present, to listen, to comfort. Need space to take care of each other.
We need to be seen as human: sensitive, intelligent, engaged. Strong and fragile at the same time. Rather than as numbers and resources to be optimized.
The specter of “service disruption” cannot be used as a pretext to take power over caregivers as over machines. We are committed to healing. Compassion is our engine. An engine that runs out when it cannot recharge its batteries.
We are not miracle dealers and have no magic solutions. Nor to treat the patient suffering from an incurable disease. Nor to heal our weakened health system, recovering from one of the worst health crises in a century.
We know that wise answers to complex problems require first and foremost genuine listening. We know that we cannot heal alone: neither the individual nor the system.
We need to listen. From our public decision-makers and our fellow citizens. We call for dialogue. Not those surface dialogues for PR purposes or corporate dialogue behind closed doors. We have learned to respect each other’s knowledge: experiential knowledge, professional knowledge, scientific knowledge and civic knowledge. We want to learn from each other to find solutions together, with you.
* This text is signed by around forty professionals:
Valérie Lahaie, Nurse and manager
Catherine Bouthillier, Social worker
Marie Leclaire, Psychologist
Eric Racine, Bioethicist and researcher
Julie Ménard, Primary clinical nurse
Ghislaine Rouly, Patient partner in community care
Dominique Dufour, Citizen
Catherine Purenne, Administrative Coordinator
Christine St-Onge, Midwife
Julie Lacasse, emergency nurse
Daniel Turgeon, Peer Caregiver
Jean-Pierre Daigle, paramedic
Vincent Dumez, Patient partner
Julien Roy, Nurse practitioner specializing in first line
Alain Lesage, psychiatrist and researcher
Manuel Penafiel, Community organizer
Ginette Caron, Caregiver
Émilie Lessard, Anthropologist and researcher
Geneviève Castonguay, Scientific manager
Anne Évangéline LeBlanc, Peer support
Marie-Eve Ratté, Nurse practitioner specializing in first line
Audrey L’Espérance, Research associate and scientific manager
Geneviève David, Manager
Marie-Claude Durette, Caregiver Community Project Director
Katherine Tremblay, Volunteer
Sacha Ghadiri, Associate Professor in Management
Mathieu Bouchard, Caregiver and peer support worker, postdoctoral researcher
Eleonora Bogdanova, Research assistant
Philippe Karazivan, Family doctor
Louise Normandin, Research professional
Pierre Pluye, Professor of Family Medicine, McGill University
Marie-Dominique Beaulieu, Emeritus Professor of Medicine
Nathalie Caire Fon, Director of the Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine, University of Montreal
Jean-François Pelletier, Head of the peer-aid training program at the University of Montreal
Ahmed Maherzi, Director of the Office of Social Responsibility, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montreal
Ann C Macaulay Professor of Family Medicine, McGill University
Louis Lochhead, Patient coordinator and caregiver
Myriam Fournier-Tombs, health manager
Cathy Bazinet, communications advisor
Véronique Dubé, Nurse, professor and researcher
Marie-Eve Bouthillier, clinical ethicist