The Thinning of our Professional Boundaries

Our world at work is changing. New themes: meaningful connection, whole self, self-care, informal leadership, person centred care, compassionate care, agency and courageous conversations are emerging. These new directions confront the traditional professional boundaries of our health and care roles. Without doubt our emotional boundaries are undergoing a transformation.

Nowadays cross function collaboration replaces team identity. Competency asks persons living in long term care homes ‘how would you like to do this?’ then waits, listens to the response then takes action. We see how the inclusion of ‘experience stories’ enlivens data reports. Continuous improvement wears a smile with a warm hug. As we move faster through our digital connected world, is our attachment to our professional boundaries becoming thinner? I think yes, it is being influenced. Around us zaps from Twitter, Reddit, Instagram and Facebook nudge us into a world of intimate disclosure and sharing. Bigger shifts in leadership concepts move us away from how professional behaviour used to be. Formality in care roles is softening, especially in the arena of emotional well being.

Let us not forget in our current ‘Covid’ state the noise volume about stress and burnout for health and care workers has risen exponentially. Daily, we are confronted with ways and means to address our ‘self care’. Apps promoting mindfulness, de-stress techniques, burnout assessments are plentiful. The exposure of this tells the world that we as health workers also have feelings, often times overwhelming feelings that we may chose to ignore with grave mental health implications. Our professional composure is shaken.

The ethos at ‘Meaningful Care Matters’ (MCM) reflects these new shifts. They open wide their doors welcoming personal attachment. This is the theme of a new learning programme ‘Free to be Me’. It positively confronts the downsides of detached professionalism in health team members. If care is to be person centred- it calls upon those people in care and care providers to pursue together new beliefs based on the interconnectedness between all people and their life stories. MCM’s website states, “We believe that this is applicable to all social and healthcare settings; it is a way of living and therefore it should be the basis of the way we support wellness in our care models.” We are in this together on new ground, co-creating a vibrant care home environment.  When ‘Us and Them’ go away and ‘We’ shows up then we can go forward. (Senge)

The relationship between ‘how I feel’ and my work performance cannot be understated. The growing presence of anxiety/stress leading to burnout often identifies the toll of withheld emotional expression. Free to be Me- recognises the importance of the emotional body. It is time for all to own how they feel. In this culture we will flourish.

CAROLE FAULKNER
Associate Consultant
MCM Canada
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