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Two Tribes?


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Setting up a conference can be a challenge. When you have a product that you want to to market you have to first know your target audience.  We have a broad readership at Don’t Forget The Bubbles and so defining our target audience has been a particular challenge.  Readers will know that we aim to be inclusive but in three days it is impossible to be all things to all people.  Some craft groups may inevitably feel left out or assume they are victims of tribalism.

We are being tribal… but not in the way that you think.  DFTB17 is about tribalism, about an ‘us and them’ but the two tribes I am referring to are the patients, and those that care for them. Our aim is to make a difference, even a small one, about how we care for patients. If that means that just one person changes their practice then great, but we know we can do more than that.

Vic Brazil spoke of bringing people together at SMACCGold in order to share ideas, and collaborate, all in service of the patient.  If you have not seen her wonderful talk then take a look…

The tribes she talks about are those we have all seen in the hospital – it’s the emergency department versus the in-patient units, it’s neurology versus neurosurgery. And it is also the tribes within the department – nurses versus doctors versus social workers. She eloquently puts forward a number of arguments as to why we should all work together as a team. It is all about the patient.

It is easy to criticize other specialities, or craft groups, and it can be a challenge to educate those unaware of reality in the paediatric trenches, but it all boils down to the patient and doing the best for them.

When we first came up with a list of who our conference is pitched at we painted broad strokes and soon realized (or were told) that we were missing out certain groups – metro GPs or paramedics, for example – but that was not our intention.  It is all about the patient. So if, by improving your knowledge of alcohol related harms in youth, you can make a difference then come along and listen to Diana Egerton-Warburton. If you think that being better at harnessing the power of social media will help you help your patients then come and listen to Salim Rezaie and Rob Rogers. And if you think that by looking after yourself you will be in a better place to care for sick children then come and listen to myself or David Krieser.

But this creation of two tribes is a false dichotomy. There should be no us and them. We can learn so much from our patients and their parents and with that in mind it is important to allow them a voice. We hope to do that. You never know when the line will get blurred and you move from carer to cared for.


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