On October 18, inspirational speaker and best-selling author Marcus Engel engaged a crowd of several hundred Goodwin College students, faculty, and staff, as well as guests from the greater community, in an ongoing effort to provide insights and strategies for excellent patient care. Engel shared his harrowing and amazing story with the audience — primarily students from the College’s nursing school — during two sessions in the auditorium.
As a college freshman returning home from a hockey game with friends, Engel was struck by a drunk driver in a traumatic car accident that left him hospitalized for months and permanently blind. Through years of rehab, more than 300 hours of reconstructive facial surgery, and adaptation through a multitude of life changes, Engel witnessed the good, the bad, and the profound in patient care.
This was a return engagement for Engel to Goodwin, where a unique relationship has developed over several years between him and the nursing and healthcare degree programs. Janice Watts, Nursing Department chair, referred to Engel in her introduction as “my friend and my hero.”
“There is no college or university in the country I love more than Goodwin,” Engel told the audience in his introduction. “Nowhere is faculty more engaged in seeing students succeed. You have such an incredible culture and community.”
Much of Engel’s discussion focused on those individual professionals who treated him as a whole human being, despite his traumatic injuries and difficulty communicating after the accident. In the first hours of his hospitalization, when he barely knew where he was or what had happened, one caregiver, Jennifer, continued to hold his hand and offered him the most important comfort possible: “I’m here” — words that would come to be a critical part of Engel’s recovery and a rallying cry for caregivers. More information can be found at the website imheremovement.org.
“Simple human presence,” he explained, “is the cornerstone of caregiving.”
One audience member asked Engel if he still dwells on the driver who changed his world so completely. He explained that hate and blame only perpetuate pain for people and that he has moved ahead with his life and he concentrates on “putting as much love into the world as possible.”
Engel’s keynote presentations have been witnessed by tens of thousands of healthcare professionals and his books are used in scores of nursing education courses to teach the basic foundations of caregiving. Engel has authored four books and is at work on a fifth, Narrative Nursing, designed to help lead nurses into using proven techniques and therapeutic resources for dealing with the effects of compassion fatigue and avoiding burnout. His previous books include After This…An Inspirational Journey For All The Wrong Reasons; The Other End of the Stethoscope: 33 Insights for Excellent Patient Care; I’m Here: Compassionate Communication in Patient Care; and Everyday Inspiration. Both The Other End of the Stethoscope and I’m Here are available for purchase in the Goodwin College bookstore. Information about Engel can be found at www.MarcusEngel.com.
For information on becoming a caregiver in Connecticut, please visit goodwin.edu/caregivers.