Support and Collaboration | A Note From The President

Collaboration is something that has been on my mind these past few weeks. I am working on our re-designation for Baby Friendly, and it is a huge task. This is my fourth time through the process if you count the initial assessment. I have a wonderful team helping us to get everything in place and make sure nothing is overlooked. I’ve had the opportunity to become better acquainted with people in departments where I don’t usually interact. It’s been really good to find the support and guidance when needed.

This leads me to think about you. How are you finding that support and collaboration? Often times in our areas of birth and postpartum, we do work alone, even if we work with a group. My education team teaches solo. Some nights, there are two classes scheduled in the same building, and they get to see one another, but the majority of the time, they come in, teach, and leave, not seeing another educator, our admin person, or me. My lactation team has grown, and we now have 2-3 people working each day. They are split up by area but do have the opportunity to collaborate and problem-solve. I don’t work directly with a doula group, but I am aware that many of them have a similar work situation.

While conducting interviews last week, one of the candidates asked what we like most about our job. Even though we don’t see each other often, all of us answered similarly by saying that working with such great people is what makes the job so great. They all said that staff meeting when we got to be together was the best and they look forward to it. Staff meeting?! Who in the world loves staff meeting?! It actually made me happy to hear them talk about how much they like to be together, even if at a meeting.

This validates my post-pandemic thinking that although virtual meetings and teaching are important and often time essential, there is nothing like the opportunity to be together in person. It is easier to problem-solve, discuss, connect, and collaborate when you are in the same space. As humans, we gain so much from one another.

So, how are you connecting and collaborating? Do you have peers, cohorts, or practices where you can work together to find solutions? Are you using online groups to find that support and connection? Regardless of how it is achieved, finding those “peeps” is one of the things that is going to guide you through the tough times and provide joy in your profession.

Our Board of Directors will be gathering in person next month for Strategic Planning. As challenging as it can be to take the time to meet for a long weekend, we are very excited. The energy and excitement of seeing each other “in real life” versus our monthly and for some more frequent meetings is palpable. Being together, we build support and connections that last. One of the agenda items will be looking at the 2024 Conference. We are planning to be in person for that event. The pandemic was long. Hopefully, we learned some things and have grown and healed from that event. Most of all, I hope that we cherish time together, working as teams, and building connections.

Elizabeth Kirts, MPH, ICCE, IBCLC, RLC     

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