Becoming a Teacher

As end of life professionals, we are really good at telling people why we live in a death denying society. But when was the last time you included yourself in the list of reasons?

Many of you are so good at your jobs that you just automatically take care of everything your family needs. "So what’s the harm in that?", you ask.

As we do things for families we have an obligation to teach them about what we are doing, or what we are about to do. When was the last time a doctor stuck you with a needle before telling you she was going to? You usually get the, “This will only hurt a little” line. Or my personal favorite as a needle is invading my vein, “Just a little poke.” My definition of little poke was apparently quite different than the last nurse who took my blood... My point is, teach as you go.

Tell a person what you’re doing, how you are going to do it, why you are doing to it, if they need to follow up with anything when they walk out of your door, or if everything is already taken care of.

Part of the reason that society doesn’t know what to expect when making end of life decisions is because they’ve not been taught. Someone else has always taken care of things, or perhaps it wasn’t their responsibility to make the decisions. While it's true that not everyone wants to know the what, why, or how, but those who do deserve to be taught.

In most situations, the WWII Generation will take you at your word as the expert in your field, but the Baby Boomers and Generation “X” are known for demanding to know the why, even before they know the how.

Start thinking of your families as students, and yourself as an educator; you’ll find you will have much happier clients.