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Healing Ourselves First: Resilience as Our Greatest Clinical Competence

Closing Plenary
Thursday, July 27, 2017
4:15 - 5:15 PM ET

Carla Cheatham, MA, MDiv, PhD, TRT

The uncertain financial and regulatory climate our industry faces can make our already stressful work that much more challenging. We cannot afford to ignore the impact these dynamics have on our personal health and families, our teams and even the patients and families we seek to serve. 

Much of this we are simply powerless to change, but we are not helpless to take action on our own behalf. We must be intentional about fostering our own resilience if we are to be the professionals we aspire to be. Doing so is not a luxury; it is our greatest clinical responsibility. 

The principles of resilience can teach us much about thriving, rather than simply surviving, through change and challenge and the attitudes and techniques that can support (or undermine) our clinical competence. 

After reviewing the data related to burnout and compassion fatigue, this presentation will provide immediately implementable strategies for instilling greater health and resilience in ourselves, our teams and our organizations for our sake and that of those for whom we care. 

Learning Objectives:  

  • Explore the research about and contributors of compassion fatigue
  • List the research behind and tenets of resilience
  • Analyze practical ways to leverage that information for the creation of healthier and more productive professionals and teams

Carla Cheatham, MA, MDiv, PhD, TRT

Rev. Dr. Carla Cheatham began her career in social services with an MA in Psychology, certification in crisis counseling, and experience working in child and family therapy services and substance abuse treatment centers. She taught and researched on the interaction between spirituality and health at Texas A&M while receiving her PhD in Health & Kinesiology and earned her MDiv under the Charles and Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Fellowship at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology.  

After serving faith communities and directing an interfaith non-profit supporting worker justice, Carla began her work as a hospice chaplain and bereavement coordinator in Austin, Texas. She is an Adjunct Professor at the Seminary of the Southwest, where she teaches about hospice and end-of-life care, and an Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, where she is helping to develop and teach the new MS in Palliative Care.

She is the Principal and Lead Trainer for Carla Cheatham Consulting Group, LLC and serves as a national speaker and consultant for professional caregivers of all disciplines and fields, specializing in boundaries and healthy teams, ethical spiritual and existential care, grief support, ethical conversations around medical aid in dying and VSED, and more. 

Carla is the Section Leader for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Spiritual Caregivers Section and a member of NHPCO’s Ethics Advisory Council. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Swan Songs, a not-for-profit that fulfills end-of-life musical wishes.

She is the author of Hospice Whispers: Stories of Life and its companion piece, Sharing Our Stories: A Hospice Whispers Grief Support Workbook. Her next book on the art of presence with those who are suffering is set for publication in 2017.  Carla is a guest blogger for Hospice Times, and publishes her own blogs at Carla Cheatham Consulting Group, LLC and Hospice Whispers