Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What do I Bring to the Table? Take Two

After our first few of days in class, I have decided to revisit the question: "What do I bring to the table?"

I previously thought that I had very little to bring to the table when it came to disaster relief and management other than my enthusiasm and willingness to learn.  However, I have realised that I do in fact have a bit more to offer...

I forgot that when it comes to practical skills, I actually can take blood pressure, record pulse, perform functional assessments (of human movement to help physiotherapists) and perform blood tests.  I also remembered that having watched several surgeries in Ghana and Uganda, I am actually quite good with blood and trauma and things that may bother others when they see them.

I have also realised that I am quite adept at communicating with others in a clear and tactful way.  I do not shy away from conversation and while I was worried that I might be too outspoken in the group scenarios in class, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was happy to take a step back and listen to the perspectives of others or let them take the lead as well.  But, if there was a bit of a communication gap or someone had to take the position of leader for a time to get the workflow going, I was happy to step in if no one else seemed willing.  I feel that my communication skills and flexibility in manoeuvring within group dynamics could be useful to my working in disaster management.  In addition, I also speak three languages: English, French and Italian, so perhaps I could be a useful translator.

Finally, despite the high level of indecisiveness that plagues my every day life choices in regards to small and relatively trivial matters (i.e. what movie to watch, what to wear in the morning, etc), I actually make big decisions quite quickly.  In addition, while I had not previously given it much thought, I have reacted pretty well in emergency situations that I have found myself in such as car accidents or witnessing women suddenly going into labor.  For example, my father and I were in a car accident and we ended up upside down in a ditch and while my father (a former police officer) sat frozen at the wheel before releasing his seat belt and landing on his head, I managed to reach over and turn the car off, find an exit and make sure that we made it out quickly and safely.  Looking back now, my decisions to act in such situations have been swift and quite level-headed, despite the fact that I do not remember thinking much at all at the time.  My decisions during our group disaster scenarios where we had to decide who we would save and who we would leave behind were very much the same.  I considered the various options carefully but quickly and made a decision that I still stand by, even upon further examination.

As our guest lecturer stated on the first day of class, the worst thing that you can do is not make a decision, so hopefully that would also serve me well if I ever end up working in disasters.  Of course, there might be occasions when going with my gut or making a quick assessment will not be in everyone's best interest, so I should make sure that I know when to take an extra moment to consider the various options.


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