Some of you know that I’m an Occupational Therapist, working in a team of 4 part timers for our local hospice. One of our strengths is how we’ve all come to this speciality via different routes, bringing different skills and expertise.
One came with a background in neurology and wheelchair services. She’s led our work with patients with MND and is a great resource when it comes to seating and postural support. Another worked in dementia care, contributing to the design of a specialist In Patient room and has introduced therapeutic horticulture to the hospice. My third colleague brings experience in teaching students on placement, which is now established in our department. And me? I’m known for my background in mental health so have co-written the hospice wide guidelines of assessing depression and anxiety.
It would be easy to feel intimidated by a colleague’s easy expertise in an area I’m not confident in. But our differences in skill and knowledge really are a strength because we see them as a resource rather than a threat. And that diversity brings opportunities for learning for us as well as better treatment for our patients.
A conversation with my husband about a challenging issue this week made me think about our different experiences of family life as we grew up. But it was those differences that brought added insight to the situation, a more rounded view of it, and a potential solution. Our differences help to make our marriage a good team.
Of course, differences alone don’t do that. Whether a marriage partnership or a work team, we do also need a shared purpose and shared values. But embracing the differences helps make the team better.
It also occurs to me that perhaps the concept of the Trinity is similar: one shared purpose but different roles within? It needs more consideration but maybe God’s a team too?