Commentary: An Open Letter about Audacious Kindness for the CPD Profession

By Helen Mawdsley, EdD and Eleftherios K. Soleas, PhD

As the editors of this column, we feel compelled to discuss an issue important to us: the wellbeing of the professionals who make CPD happen. Our desks at our home offices beckon to many of us and with many of us returning to the office, in-person, perhaps you feel as we do that there is a feeling of scarce little stability in an otherwise chaotic time.

First, we want to validate this feeling and say that is normal to feel this way, and there is nothing wrong with looking around and wanting a modicum of unity and tranquility. As it so happens, wishes rarely come true immediately after they are made. It seems that we, as a profession, have to decide and act to make our wish for a harmonious time happen.

As folks return to their offices and rejoin their peers, take the time to be kind to one another. The only way that we can create the normalcy that we perhaps crave is to acknowledge that change has happened and work together to discover the new normal. Working as a team has far less to do with proximity than how we treat and treasure each other as human beings. We are going to have to build each other up to make ourselves the best we can be. That is how we can be kind.

Here is what we are doing:

  • We are noticing instead of seeing people
  • We are listening to what they are telling us instead of hearing them
  • We are doing what we can to make shared spaces livable instead of functional
  • We are making a pot of coffee instead of a cup when we know others are around
  • We are looking for the good in the people around us
  • We are finding ways to make people’s days brighter – mostly with carbs, but always with a smile

CPD is about the people we work with and serve. Take heart in the fact that our work remains important, people who care about us work with us, and that your work makes the world kinder and brighter. Some of us will be in office and some of us won’t be. We’ve made that work for two years and frankly it better fits with some of our lives than commuting to the office. The fact of the matter is nothing works for everyone. Except kindness, kindness works for everyone.

Eleftherios K. Soleas, PhD is Director of Continuing Professional Development, Professional Development & Educational Scholarship, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University and Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Education, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario

Helen Mawdsley, EdD is Director of Research, Office of Continuing Competency and Assessment , Assistant Professor, Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Canada


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