#HAWMC: Armed with the (super)Power to Persuade & Motivate
This post continues the month-long series called the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge (#HAWMC) created by WEGO Health. Today’s writing prompt: Superpower Day. If you had a superpower – what would it be? How would you use it?
If I had a superpower it would be very similar to the Men In Black, MIB neuralyzer. But instead of erasing memories it would modify mindsets and overcome bias. There are so many myths and misconception regarding the organ donation process. It would be nice to just hold up my specialized neuralyzer and remove the fear and misinformation and replace it with empathy and enlightenment. Instead, I access a profoundly painful event and expose myself, revealing some of my vulnerabilities to complete strangers. Perhaps, the ability to do this is indeed a superpower. But, this is what it takes to be effective so I do my best to recount my family story with authenticity and emotion so that I might educate, persuade and ultimately motivate my audiences.
- I hope to motivate health care providers to be the most patient and compassionate version of themselves. I recently spoke with a group of nursing students who would soon be graduating. It was my role to provide them with the perspective of the family of an organ donor. I reminded the nurses, ” You’ll be interacting with patients and families on the worst day of their lives. Despite all the challenges to communication in the healthcare system, this time–the end of life–is one time in particular where you must get it right. So showing patience and compassion are essential despite whatever else maybe happening. My families–all families remember this day forever and a positive or negative interaction with the clinical staff will have an impact upon the grieving and ultimately the healing process.”
- I hope to motivate those waiting for an organ to not be afraid to talk about their status on the waiting list. It was the power of community that brought two special women who were waiting for kidneys to the attention of my family. In our hour of despair, we miraculously remembered them and their great need. Through a process called directed donation, each of those women received a kidney donated by my brother.
- Most importantly, I hope to motivate members of the community at large to register to be an organ donor. This is not at all an easy task. There are two camps–the converted (thank you) and doubters and the two are worlds apart. Carefully and respectfully, I try to demonstrate to doubters how the characteristics and the actions of my brother at the age of 16 are also present within each of them. I try to show them how they have the power to do the right thing–the power to donate life.
With all my superpowers, do I have a weakness? Absolutely! As an advocate and an activist you sometimes walk a fine line. My experiences make me passionate. One employee from the area organ procurement organization said jokingly, “family member are sometimes a little militant…” I thought about it, then smiled because I realized she’s right. (Mental note to self: don’t be a militant.) The issue is very personal and of course that makes me vulnerable. I already spoke of the woman who walked out during one of my presentations. That certainly hurt me. In the end, she was only one person that I did not reach that day. And, no you can’t reach them all. But, I will continue to try.
Read about the super powers of other health activists at the WEGO Health Facebook Page.