Writing this post from O’Hare Airport on my way back to Broome after SMACCUS. 40 hours in an aluminium tube…. [Kevin Fong has re-analysed the safety of air travel, so I’m feeling relatively safe… a bus would be safer!]
Looking back on the conference of the year. There were some great moments, some spectacular ideas shared and plenty of education. However, the best aspect of SMACC is the amazing connectedness and camaraderie that I feel at the tea breaks and social functions. Sure, we all introduce ourselves by our Twitter handles! For the newcomers it seems a bit strange at first, but that moment of recognition when you can connect a smiling face to the years of digital dialogue you have shared is priceless.
On Day 1 I was due to give a talk after lunch. As always I was a bit nervous. I had planned a bit of an impromptu experiment in public speaking, and was a little concerned that it may flop! Sometime in the morning I dropped my credit card in the hallway. Man, another stress I did not need on the day! But the awesome thing about SMACC is that a complete stranger, somebody whom I had never met online sent me a Tweet and handed it back within 20 minutes! That is cool. At what other conference or mass gathering would that happen? I was feeling the FOAM Love! And I knew that my little social experiment in evangelical Karaoke was going to work! Everyone at this conference wants to be here, to connect, to share and get involved in the FOAM movement.
Sometimes I hear criticism of the SMACC / FOAM movement – people liken it to a cult of celebrity. Is this true? I don’t think so. If anyone at the conference spent a moment chatting to the luminaries like Scott Weingart, Simon Carley, John Hinds, Chris Nickson, Vic Brazil or the other leaders – they would quickly realise that these people have tiny egos and do what they do because they want to improve healthcare. They want the rest of us to walk out inspired, educated and challenged – to go back home and deliver the best care that is possible.
SMACC was particularly special for me this year. I was able to meet a heap of the North American FOAMites that I have spent years working “alongside” and admiring. On day 2 I watched the awesome spectacle that my Ultrasound buddies put together – SONOWARS. At the end of the session James Rippey asked me to come up on stage. James is my Ultrasound mentor – a true master under whom I have apprenticed in this crazy electronic age. Although it did feel a bit indulgent to share this special moment in front of the crowd – I am glad we did. For this is what FOAM is all about – finding your master, teacher or mentor. And becoming a teacher to the next generation of brilliant young minds.
And then there was the song…
I wrote these lyrics for my lecture: “No Xray, No Problem!” It was a talk about how we can use Ultrasound to be better doctors. But it seems to have served as a sort of anthem for the FOAM LOVE which we all feel. So here it is [Thanks to @GruntDoc for the video]. Please share it with your colleagues. See you in Dublin. Casey