Published by ICSEB at 21 December, 2017
Barcelona, November 2017
This year represents a very important date for me. In a first instance, because it has been 9 years since the foundation of the Institut Chiari & Siringomielia & Escoliosis de Barcelona (ICSEB), and secondly, because 10 years have gone by since I work with Dr Royo-Salvador, ICSEB’s Director, Mrs Mara Espino, and the whole ICSEB team.
When I met Dr Miguel B. Royo-Salvador in 2007, he was the Director of the Institut Neurològic de Barcelona and there was an increasing number of patients travelling from other countries specifically for a consultation with him. Dr Royo-Salvador started searching foreign language professionals and translators that would attend to his communication needs with those patients, and so our paths crossed. I am a clinical community psychologist and my professional experience was in the mental health sector. It was the first time that I worked with purely neurological and neurosurgical conditions, an even so, I found it really interesting.
At ICSEB, we observed from the start how important it is to report the patients’ needs exactly to the physicians, as well as their indications to the patients. Obviously, this task is not merely a language skill, but we progressively found our way in the professional world of health care mediation. This is how translation and clinical interpretation in different languages turned into an actual cultural mediation need between physicians and ICSEB patients.
Ensuring good conditions of comprehension, understanding and communication became essential, as they are a guarantee for the excellent patient care services as designed within the health method Filum System®, which is being applied exclusively at our highly specialized centre. This entailed the implementation of an internal technical training program typical for our Institut. The program prepares each foreign language contact person to be able to offer all the necessary clinical attention to the users of our services. I am proud to participate with these measures as the person in charge of Surgical Patient Care and the Internal Training Programs given to the mediation team to ensure its best possible quality.
I have attended to and accompanied many patients on their therapeutic journey at our centre throughout the years: from the first contact through the diagnostic, surgical and short-, medium- and long-term post-surgical phases.
In the professional practice of my tasks, I have always tried to provide a “bridge” between patients and healthcare professionals, transmitting constantly as much support as possible to both parts with the aim of establishing and maintaining the therapeutic alliance between them that is fundamental in the achievement of the best possible outcomes that we aim for at ICSEB. At the same time, my collaboration with the medical and neurosurgical staff has increasingly taken a direction towards research activities. I now hold the honours to be the coordinator of ICSEB’s Research and Development Department.
I am frankly very fond of being part of a work group made up of interdisciplinary professionals, almost all with different origins and language backgrounds. It is what I had always dreamed of and looked for in my career, and it would seem strange to work under different circumstances after so many years.
When you have spent some time living in an international environment, such as ours, on a daily basis, any differences move into the background. We all see each other for the individuals that we are: without the veils of preconceived ideas that could condition the relationships between members of different cultures. On one side we have tolerance, respect and openness; on the other, the efficiency and effectiveness that comes together with our daily activities at ICSEB. These values are rarely found and are precious, and I am grateful for this experience and also for having been able to learn so much about the differences in health care in the cultures of origin of our mediators.
On this 10th anniversary of being part of the team, I remember the many patients that I have had the pleasure of accompanying on their neurosurgical course. I always treasure what these patients have taught me and I am very grateful for it: the courage of facing their suffering, the capacity to live with a little known and still poorly understood condition such as the Filum Disease, the intelligence of finding a unique and hard to reach solution, the trust they place in the physicians, the great efforts to overcome the surgical and post-surgical difficulties, and finally, the big hope they keep on carrying forward with regards to the sequelae following the treatment that halts the progression of the condition, but sometimes cannot cure its consequences retroactively.
With the occasion of this celebration, I would also like to express to the whole team how lucky I feel to be able to work with them every day. I would like the physicians to know how much I appreciate everything that our co-operation has taught me, my fellow contact persons how much I value their professionalism, which in our intercultural collaboration is always an original and esteemed exchange.
I want to thank ICSEB’s General Coordinator, Mrs Mara Espino, very specially. Thanks to the intelligence, attention, competence and generosity in her management of ICSEB, I have always felt very comfortable at my workplace. She has extremely high professional ethics that I am able to share on a daily basis at extraordinary Care and Administrative levels.
What I would like to underline most in this round of thanks for these 10 years of enriching professional experience, is my gratitude towards Dr M.B. Royo-Salvador who had trusted me to get involved in his important project of applying and promoting the method. He has always lent me his support and contributed to my post-graduate training and has taught me in the clinical field as well as at a human level which of course to me is a great honour and privilege coming from such a renowned figure in the field of neurosurgery as is our Director.
Without further ado, I would like to mention that my hopes for the future are to be able to continue cooperating with the Filum System® project and its patients, in the hope that I will continue to live up to the involved high levels of professionalism and responsibility.
With warm regards,
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