What is growth? I have toyed with this word over the past couple of years. From achieving different personal ‘life milestones’, to starting as a new clinician extremely nervous the first time I held a baby whose weight was measured in grams, to now running towards the pull of the emergency bell in the NICU.
As I progress in carving out the professional niche I want beyond the bedside to population health, the word growth has nagged at me again and again. I recently did a quick google search to clarify my thoughts. One definition that made me pause and reflect is this one; Growth is “progressive development”. To me that reads that growth is a mix of intention and opportunity. You could develop but it needs to be in the direction you intend.
My practicum placement with the team at Collective Results opened my world to what public health practice is and could be. It can be beyond a public health unit or other important traditional roles that public health practitioners have always filled. It could also be through innovative consulting that helps to bridge the gap between the community and experts, or supporting a grassroots not-for-profit organization to maximize its potential and achieve it’s strategic goals.
Needless to say, I learned a lot and I met individuals who are working selflessly and are passionate about improving their communities. I also learned how important it is to ground my work in the voice of those whom I serve. That is a way to keep my meanings valid.
Going back to the concept of growth, my practicum exposed me to a varied world of public health consulting. It also helped me clarify my professional interests in managing projects, starting with a large box of puzzle pieces and seeing how it comes together with the right tools and expertise. I now know where I need to channel my intentions to become the public health professional I want to be.