Story Posted: 2021-11-04

"Beyond Burnt Out" W.F. Mitchell Bioethics Seminar offers opportunity for healing

November 4, 2021 – After three empowering sessions, St. Paul’s Hospital (SPH) has wrapped up the 2021 W.F. Mitchell Bioethics Seminar. This year Erin Beckwell of Seen and Heard Consulting presented “Beyond Burnt Out,” with a session directed towards leadership on October 26th, as well as two general sessions offered on October 28th and November 3rd.

Beckwell provided participants with a deeper understanding of the impact of trauma on how we function in our daily lives. She focused in particular on how the traumatic experiences tied to the COVID-19 pandemic have created a fight, flight, freeze or fawn response in many healthcare professionals. She stressed that although these are normal responses, they can be overwhelming.

In addition to a better understanding of the impact of trauma, participants were also provided with tools to help them cope with the continuing reality of COVID-19. Beckwell stressed Megan Divine’s observation: “Some things cannot be fixed. They must be carried” and encouraged participants to think of ways to replenish their own compassion tank as they carry the burdens of the past 19 months. In an impactful analogy, participants were presented with the image of a jar of stones. The stones were said to represent coping strategies both good and bad. Beckwell acknowledged that many of us are down to only a few rocks that are coping strategies that we perceive as bad. However, she stated that rather than dumping these last few rocks out and leaving ourselves with nothing, we should look for ways to fill our jar with healthy strategies.

Given the challenges of the pandemic, the SPH Ethics Committee decided to host the presentations online through WebEx. In addition to welcoming over 300 individuals and/or sites to the live presentation, hundreds more have access to the recordings, which are posted below along with resources to help individuals and teams

The W.F. Mitchell endowment was created in memory of W.F. Mitchell, a Saskatoon businessman who was committed to ethics in all facets of life.

Visit dropbox to access the slide decks and additional resources:

General Session:

Leaders’ Session:


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