Episode 9 | Shannon Hart

Care2Listen Podcast | Season 1, Episode 9

In health care specifically, it really hasn't hit home yet that when...you're not going to the bathroom, when you're not eating, when you're not sleeping – you're really not giving ultimate care to your patients. ... the best thing that we can do for our patients is to take care of ourselves and put our needs first.

Shannon Hart, is a caregiver and the author of The Patient Doesn’t Come First, You Do. A registered nurse for more than 15 years, Shannon is both a caregiver at work and at home, and she took care of both her parents during their illnesses and subsequent passing. Today, she shares her first hand accounts of how to set healthy boundaries, and what can happen if you don’t.


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If you want to share your story, please get in touch with Sommer Hines from CheckingIn at sommer@checkingin.co.


Sean Burke: [00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of the Care2Listen podcast. In this episode, I’m joined by Shannon Hart, a caregiver and author of “The Patient Doesn’t Come First, You Do.” A registered nurse for more than 15 years, Shannon is both a caregiver at work and at home, and she took care of both her parents during their illnesses and subsequent passing. Today, she shares her first hand accounts of how to set healthy boundaries, and what can happen if you don’t.


Today’s episode is being broadcasted to you on the unceded and traditional territories of the Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm), Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw), and Tsleil-Waututh (səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ) Nations.


Trigger warning: This podcast discusses topics that may be triggering for some viewers, including substance use, grief, and loss of parents.

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to another episode of the Care2Listen podcast. I’m your host, Sean Burke, and joining me today is an amazing guest, Shannon Hart. Welcome to the show, Shannon.


Shannon Hart: Thanks, Sean. Thanks for having me.


Sean Burke: We’re so honored. I know that you have such a long history when it comes to [00:01:00] working in the healthcare industry, 15 years, both as a nurse, but also as a mental health care practitioner. So, a wide range of experience. Maybe just before we jump into it, we’d love to learn a little bit more about who you are, and a little bit about where you come from. 


Shannon Hart: Sure, so I currently live in Alberta. I had moved to BC for a little bit, and then I moved back to Alberta. I went into nursing because I was already kind of taking care of other people. My parents both had illnesses, and pretty much, I’ve been a caregiver most of my life. So going into nursing really. Was a no brainer. I was already doing it. So it was quite an easy transition and through a lot of things with my parents and then the health care system as it is, kind of working and getting into the burnout and all of that. So, for me. Um, I’m really passionate about teaching people how to avoid that basically.


Sean Burke: Absolutely. And I know [00:02:00] that, you know, your experience both is lived personally, but also working to support others who are maybe going through that. And in particular, you’ve recently written a book. So maybe do you want to share a little bit about what that book looks like as well?


Shannon Hart: Sure. So the title is called “The Patient Doesn’t Come First, You Do”, which it’s a little bit cheeky, but I definitely wanted it to hit home with a lot of people who are caregivers. It’s aimed mostly at people who are healthcare workers, but, I think anybody who’s a caregiver can benefit from it because, the real message is that if you weren’t taking care of yourself, you’re not taking care of anybody else the way that you could be essentially.


And I know self care and putting your mask on first, you know, on the airplane. I know that a lot of that terminology is coming out and people are starting to recognize it, but I think in health care specifically, it really hasn’t hit home yet that when, you know, you’re not going to the bathroom, when you’re not eating, when you’re not [00:03:00] sleeping.


You’re really not giving ultimate care to your patients, but really the best thing that we can do for our patients is to take care of ourselves and put our needs first.


Sean Burke: Absolutely, I mean, we consistently hear suppress, push down, move on and accomplish the next task. And oftentimes we even have heard on previous episodes where we’re talking about the challenges of operational efficiency versus really showing up and providing your, your whole self to be able to serve those patients. So, it completely makes sense. And I think, you know, the intention behind the title of the book, I know that it’s going to resonate with a lot of health care practitioners. So, kudos for you for, you know, for one, taking the time to be able to share those stories.


But then also, you know, to challenge the status quo a little bit to make people think and yeah, to have a little bit of a provocative title. But I think that that’s exactly where from a healthcare perspective, we need to [00:04:00] recognize that, you know, the purpose even of this, this podcast is to help healthcare practitioners to prioritize their wellbeing.


Backing it up a little bit, talking about your story. Why initially did you go into healthcare, Shannon?


Shannon Hart: Yeah, so like I alluded to a little bit earlier, my parents both had illnesses and both of them had substance abuse issues as well. So, I was kind of already taking care of myself and I was already kind of taking care of my sister in some capacities.

And when my parents got more ill with other physical illnesses as well, I started taking on more of a caregiving role with them. And, when I was, you know, I was around 18 and I’m trying to decide what to do. Well, it just came really naturally. I’m already taking care of my parents in some ways.

I really did have that in my heart. I really did wanna [00:05:00] take care of people and I felt like, you know, I make a difference. I could see that with me helping with my parents. You know what, it made a difference to their lives and I felt really good about it. I really also had a lot of empathy because I could see that my parents, they weren’t monsters, you know, they were, they weren’t perfect, but, you know, they loved us and they were just doing the best that they could with what life had given them.


So, I really had a lot of empathy for them. I really wanted to transfer that into a career. And, um, healthcare like nursing, especially just seemed like it made sense. I worked in a nursing home for a little bit while I was going to school. And I loved that. And, um, just ended up going into an area where I could, I could work with a lot of patients, even if it was a little bit in diagnostic imaging, you know, you see a lot of people, but, um, we really do I feel like make a difference in that department. So, yeah, it definitely had the empathy fulfillment for me.


Sean Burke: Well, that’s so great to hear. And I think, you know, resonates probably with many of the [00:06:00] listeners here today, but I’d love to go back to that experience that you had, you know, being quite young, being a caregiver at an early age and then having that inform the work that you ultimately dedicated your life to.


I’m curious, going through that, the passing of your parents at an earlier age, how does that shape the way that you show up now as a health care practitioner?


Shannon Hart: I don’t think I would have made some of the same choices that I had made if it weren’t for my parents being ill.


They were both quite young when they passed away. I was a new nurse, newly graduated, when my father got sick and my mother passed away 5 years after that. 

I had always been of the mindset, you know, to work, work, work, save, save, save and, you know, just do the responsible thing.


And, you know, my parents both worked pretty much up until their deaths or my mom was a little bit [00:07:00] ill a little bit longer, but, um, you know, they really didn’t get to enjoy that retirement phase, they worked really hard, and then they passed away. And to me, you know, that could happen to me too.


You know, we have no guarantees. So for me, it changed my trajectory. I realized, you know, life isn’t for working, you know, until you are exhausted or making those payments to the mortgage or whatever. Like, it really gave me an eye opening experience. There is more to life and if I’m not careful with it, you know, it really is precious.


And I need to make sure that I’m enjoying my life now. Um, but also during it was really hard, you know, going from one hospital to where I was working to another hospital to wherever, you know, each parent was admitted. So during the time it was really a struggle.


Sean Burke: And I’d love to dig into that a bit more because I’m hearing part of you, you know, bringing your whole self to [00:08:00] work, being able to to give everything to your patients, but then, you know, in most professions, when you’re finished your work day, you can go home and people try to separate or create boundaries from, you know, work and then home life. But being then, you know, having to care for your parents, it seems like there wasn’t really a natural sort of separation and it’s just 24/7 in the caregiver mentality. I’m wondering, like, how does that continue to show up, you know, maybe for others, but also yourself and in that experience as well?


Shannon Hart: Yeah, during the time I really didn’t have any awareness as to what was going on. I was in pure survival mode because there are some times that you just have to suck it up and you just have to do it.


You know, like, my parents needed me. I needed to be there for them at that time, other than maybe taking a few days off to, you know, just retreat and have a [00:09:00] day to myself. I may be other than that, but, during that time, I really don’t think I could have made a lot of changes. Now. I’m really a strong advocator for, “Okay. Like, could you have taken some time off? Um, you know, could you have asked for some respite?”


You know, when you’re in that zone, you’re just so fixated. Like, you can’t really. You don’t really have the outer perspective, but now having experienced it, I think when I see it in other people, because obviously I work with a lot of other care nurses and other types of health care workers that they’re doing the same thing, you know, if their parents are ill, like the sandwich generation, or they’re taking their kids to their sports and everything. And, you know, just being able to ask that question, you know, is there somebody else who could maybe do this or could I take a week off from this?


That sort of thing, just starting to ask those questions because when you’re in it, it’s really hard. All you can see is you know, work [00:10:00] and family, like, that’s the only 2 things you can really see. Being able to witness it and other people, I’m able to start asking those questions to these people to maybe give them, you know, a chance to maybe see things a little bit differently if that makes sense. 


Sean Burke: It completely does. And when I hear you talk about the suck it up mentality, and you know, sometimes we just have to put our heads down and get it done. For me, it’s sort of one of those moments where it’s like, there is a time and a place, absolutely, where that just has to be the case.


And then there’s the other fine line where. You know, if we suppress, push things down, but don’t acknowledge that, hey, this is not a one off situation or a time where we need to do that. How do you balance the two?


Shannon Hart: I think that’s something I still have to ask myself on quite a frequent basis because I do go into autopilot and it’s just, yeah, I can just do it. You know, like I can just, I don’t need to ask for help. I can just do it. But I [00:11:00] think the trigger for me. For me, it’s not necessarily an awareness that I have built in. The trigger for me is I start feeling resentful.


So, if I start going to work, and I notice that I’m snappier with my patients or my coworkers, or I’m not wanting to engage in, you know, social activities with my friends or family, it’s little things like that for me, unfortunately, I find that it has to get to that point until I’m like, oh, okay, that’s my trigger to say, okay, you know, something’s off. You need to back it up or something needs to change.


I wish I could say that I had it all figured out and balanced and, you know, my life is perfect. And now that I’ve gone through everything, but for me, I would say that the feeling of resentment is probably that guidance that inner guidance that saying, hey, like, you’re working too hard that you might want to back off or[00:12:00] maybe take on less or ask for help or whatever.


Because for me, it’s not natural to ask for help. I think a lot of caregivers, I would say that that’s a pretty normal thing. We are so used to doing and not necessarily feeling comfortable asking for help. So, I think sometimes your feelings are your guide, you know, and I think sometimes we feel afraid when we’re angry or ashamed of our anger. We’re ashamed of our resentment or guilt or whatever that is, but that’s, you know, that’s our guidance. That’s saying, hey, there’s something up that you need to pay attention to.


Sean Burke: Totally. And when you say it’s your guide. Those feelings to me, it kind of reminds me of a chapter out of your book that you have coming out. Empathy being our superpower. So, would you be able to speak a little bit towards that? And like, what does that mean to you when you’re when you wrote the chapter, “Empathy is our superpower”?


Shannon Hart: Sure, so, I actually do talk about how we have empathy for our patients or [00:13:00] our family members. I think it’s very natural for us to be able to put ourselves in our patients shoes.


So, you know, I have never been on a procedure table in my department, but I’m able to put myself in my patient’s shoes and say, you know, lying on that cold, hard table must be really hard. And to have this diagnosis, it must be really challenging. And so I soften myself to my patient, but I find that a lot of caregivers, we’re very natural when it comes to doing that for other people, but we’re not so natural at it when it comes to ourselves.


So I say that our empathy is our superpower, because it is. It’s not something that I think everybody has the ability to do. But I think sometimes we forget about having empathy for ourselves. So, you know, when we are working too hard and then we’re beating ourselves up because, you know, we missed our self care or whatever that is, you know, I [00:14:00] think it’s transferring that empathy that we have for our patients that we use on a daily basis. That’s jus,t it’s autopilot for us. We’re so natural at doing it.


But it’s transferring that back to ourselves. So having that compassion, you know, like, for me, I do actively work on my self care, but, you know, sometimes, you know, I miss a meditation or I miss a workout or, you know, I just want to eat junk food for 1 day and I think we have a tendency to beat ourselves up over it. But, you know, if you were, if this was your patient, you know, or your friends, you know, would you be saying, oh, you know, you, you’re a slacker or, you know, you suck, you wouldn’t be saying those things to those other people, but we say it to ourselves. Right?


So it’s, it’s having that, like, I kind of want to put a spotlight on it. Like, we already have this skill built in. It’s not like it’s something that we really need to learn. It’s just something that we need to be aware that we need to give back to ourselves.


Sean Burke: Yeah, that recognition I hear quite often, like the example you shared there, [00:15:00] um, but also, you know, I’ve heard from different people, the idea of if a friend spoke to you, the way you speak to yourself, would you still be friends with that person?


And oftentimes that answer is pretty clear and you don’t even need to answer it because we all know that we’re hard on ourselves. But if we can create that space for us to be able to sit with our feelings, to acknowledge that we’re human beings and that we’re going to make mistakes and that we can’t do everything, um, but you know, we’re going to do the best we can.


I think such simple lessons that were taught at a young age, but sometimes forget as adults and, trying to move forward.


So maybe backing it up a bit to your personal journey and your experience. I know you have a story that you share in the book just around this recognition or realization of what it’s like to work in the healthcare industry[00:16:00] and the need to put yourself first in order to serve, and provide the best care for your patients. So, maybe could you share a little bit about what that story was or that experience of you being in the line and I’ll let you take it from there.


Shannon Hart: So this was actually already after my parents had passed away, and I had already started doing some work on myself, but, it’s interesting because I thought that I was, you know, I had it all together. But I was skating with friends in, I’d gone to New York to visit a friend and we were in line to skate and I had to leave that night.


I had a plane to catch back home and my 2 friends are yoga instructors and so we were standing in line to get the skates, but then I really had to go to the bathroom. I had to pee and I went and looked and the line for the bathroom was longer than it was for the skating. It was probably going to be about 2 hours, [00:17:00] which I either had to choose. Okay, go skating and hold it or go to the bathroom and don’t go skating. Like, that’s basically the choice I had to make. 

And I contemplated holding it.


I really did. And I was just like, you know what? Guys, I don’t think I’m going to make it. And so I apologized profusely to them. And, I’m sorry. I really have to go. And they looked at me like I had three heads. They were like, like, why are you apologizing for going to the bathroom, but it was like this light bulb went off in my head and I was like, well, I always apologize for going to the bathroom and all of us at work always say, sorry, sorry, I have to go, I have to go like.

Or you don’t, like, that’s the other thing too, you’ll be holding it all day, and then, you know, at the end of the day, that’s when you actually go, but it was just this awareness that this isn’t normal outside of my job, this isn’t normal in society. And my friends being yoga instructors, they’re very in tune with their bodies.

And obviously I’m [00:18:00] not because I’ve ignored a lot of those signals for a long time, like, when you’re hungry and you just push through it, you go to the bathroom, you just push through it. And, you know, so I realized in that moment, I was like, okay, like something really needs to change here.

For me, it was, I think, almost like, I had a lot of sadness for myself, but I had more sadness I think that the fact that, you know, this is what all of us are experiencing. Like, all of us are just used to just pushing away our natural bodily functions, like, you know, pushing away what it is to be human to try and get the work done for, you know, trying to help the patients. So, that, yeah, that was my aha moment.


Sean Burke: It’s interesting, because I’m sure if we took a survey of healthcare practitioners who have had a similar experience where they’ve had to hold something or, I mean, I think, you know, the vast majority of people would put their hands up, and be [00:19:00] aligned with, with what you’re saying.

And that, that example resonates. But why do you think that is? You know, why is it a culture where that is the norm?


Shannon Hart: I think, you know, we’re definitely in a system that doesn’t support us. I mean, first and foremost, it’s a sick system in health care. Like, the patients are sicker now than they ever were before.


I think we’re trying to do more with less staff and we have an aging population. There’s so much that’s just slowly grown, and unfortunately, the system can’t support health care the way it is. So, I think part of it is that it’s kind of just slowly become this, the frog in the boiling water kind of situation where we just haven’t noticed it as much.


And then all of a sudden, it’s like, you know, something has to give. But I would say that the next biggest issue is that we are not standing up for ourselves necessarily when some of these decisions are coming in when some of these [00:20:00] situations are changing, you know, like, we, I think a lot of the times, because we know that the patient will suffer if we try to protest.


And so we just, I think we cut corners, we rush. We try to fit cases in. We try to do everything that we can so that the patient isn’t suffering. There’s definitely the system itself is a problem. But I think we have to also be accountable for how we’ve played a role in how this has become the norm because the culture doesn’t shift overnight that way. Right? Like, it’s definitely a gradual thing.


Sean Burke: What sort of steps could somebody take today, improve their experience, improve the culture within the teams? Like, what could that individual be accountable to and for?


Shannon Hart: The biggest thing is recognizing that our needs are important. Our needs are necessary and that we are accountable for taking care of ourselves before [00:21:00] we take care of anybody else.


I think personally, that’s what I think the biggest shift needs to happen because we can make policy changes. We can definitely start saying no to overtime or you know, working on call or certain things like that.


There are, I think, smaller things that we can do that will make a difference. But I would say the biggest thing is having that paradigm shift that well, if I’m taking care of myself first, that means I can’t do a lot of the things that I have been doing for probably most of my career, you know, um, and that’s how I think the biggest change has to shift.


Another thing too, I think is, I know this for myself, I can’t speak to every health care worker, but I think some of us really see our patients as victims in a way, you know, like, they come in and I think our job is to fix them, you know, like, and I think that mentality also needs to shift because our patients are also able [00:22:00] to advocate for themselves.


I know our job is obviously to advocate for a patient, but that power, I think, can reside with the patient. The patient can advocate for themselves, and we can give them education on that. I think some of the times we skip that, and we just try to advocate for them instead of allowing it to be a collaboration, if that makes sense.


Sean Burke: Absolutely, it does. It brings me back to a conversation I had this past week with a Squamish elder. And one of their biggest teachings was, you know, I will walk alongside you, but I won’t be able to do the work for you. And it’s interesting because when we do think about healthcare, at least from my personal perspective as well, it’s very much been when you go to the hospital, right, you’re going to be fixed.


So it’s an interesting mindset shift, as opposed to saying, you know, I’m not there to fix you, but I’m there to support you to help empower you to take the steps that you need to to take, and, [00:23:00] shifting to that mindset, how could somebody do that within the existing framework and policies that are set in place around supporting the healthcare industry and patient in particular?


Shannon Hart: We have to balance and compromise, right? Like, um, that means we’re still probably going to be doing the overtime. We’re still going to be working short. That’s not going to change overnight. But I think little increments in self care, I think is a big thing. I think boundary setting, boundaries is probably the most important skill that healthcare workers can utilize. But that has to come from within. You can set a boundary, you know, kind of how you can memorize a textbook, but if you don’t feel that in your body that you’re worthy of setting that boundary.


I think a lot of the time it might be challenging [00:24:00] to do so. So I think it’s having that wherewithal to know that you are important, and that can come from, you know, working with the therapist or, you know, kind of diving into a lot of your own kind of personal work, but, I would say boundaries is probably the biggest thing that a healthcare worker could do overnight is to start saying no to things that really aren’t serving you.


Sean Burke: And let’s talk about the realistic approach towards setting boundaries. And what’s that line between, you know, yes, I’m setting a boundary versus yes, I’m going to need to, you know, complete that task and, what sort of reaction might somebody expect if they do set a boundary?


Shannon Hart: I think it’s important to know what your values are, first and foremost, because what might affect me personally might not be that big of a deal to somebody else, you know, somebody [00:25:00] else might not really care if they have to stay over time, but, you know, picking up an extra call shift might be a big deal.


Right? Um, so it’s kind of knowing what your values are. If, you know, for example, you like to travel, you’re going to make your life kind of work around that travel. Whereas if you want to stay with your family more, if you have, you know, family responsibilities, you know, putting those kinds of things in perspective first and that will really streamline the process.


If you value your family, but you’re spending all your time at work, it’s going to feel kind of icky and you’re not going to know why, so really knowing what’s important to you is going to guide where your boundaries are, where you’re setting them. For me, I don’t mind a little bit of overtime, but I recognize in myself that I can’t do too much. So knowing those boundaries before you actually set them with somebody else is really [00:26:00] important. It’s not easy to set a boundary, especially when you aren’t used to setting them. And I find in Canada, especially we’re very, you know, we don’t want to rock the boat.


We want to be polite. Saying, you know, this doesn’t work for me sometimes, like, it sounds really easy, but when you actually go to tell this person, like, no, like, we get that kind of like ugh inside. So I think another thing that misconceptions around setting boundaries is that, you know, it’s going to be easy and you’re going to feel free.


Well, no, because you’re so used to saying yes to everybody else that when you start saying no, you’re going to feel guilty. And Gabor Maté had a great quote where, if you have to choose between feeling guilt or feeling resentment, choose the guilt every time. Because he says, you know, it compares resentment to, like, you know, kind of arsenic in your system because it does erode after a while. Whereas guilt, it does get easier after a certain amount of time


Sean Burke: [00:27:00] And it’s even, you know, the question of why do we have to choose between the two? Like, how do we avoid or prevent ourselves from getting into a situation like that? Or you know, like, if I’m assuming that in this example, maybe the guilt is coming from setting a boundary and saying no.

Well, absolutely. If that’s, you know, the first step that somebody is taking, they might end up in that position. But how do you feel confident with setting those boundaries and not manifesting into guilt or shame or resentment or whatever those other feelings might be, because the truth is, you’re honoring your own self well being,  in order to then again, show up as your best self for your patients.


So, is there a way forward in healthcare, or a time in the future where you see that not being the norm, or is this something that you think the profession itself lends? You know, it just, it’s not something that we’re going to move past? I’m curious to hear your [00:28:00] thoughts on that.


Shannon Hart: I think, like I said, I think the paradigm shift definitely needs to happen before anything changes. You know, they’ve done a ton of studies around nursing bullying and nursing burnout. They’ve done all of these studies. There’s a ton of literature out there, even though they have all this information, you know, nothing’s changing. Right? So I think. Like I said, keep coming back to the fact that we need to know that we’re worthy of putting ourselves first.


The conditioning that happens in health care starts from the beginning, like that phrase, “the patient comes first”, it was ingrained from the beginning of my nursing career, you know, and I think that that conditioning really needs to stop and it’s definitely not just nurses. It’s all health care workers.


I actually think physicians have an even harder time setting boundaries and feeling like they have the right to say, no, because, you know, this is a calling, they’re well compensated. They so I feel a [00:29:00] lot of them really don’t feel like they have the right to say, no, like, this is what they signed up for.


That needs to change, like 100% needs to change before anything can shift. I do think that people who are drawn to healthcare, and I kind of talk about it a little bit in the book too, is like, there’s like that wounded healer kind of mentality in us. Like, you’re seeking healing and you’re going into a profession where it’s revolving around healing and I think almost subconsciously, we’re trying to heal ourselves in a way. So I think it does, I mean, pretty much everybody in healthcare, I think has that mentality of putting people above their own needs in some ways. I think it definitely can change.


And if the pandemic, you know, if we’re to look at it positively, now that it’s shown a spotlight on, you know, the shortages in healthcare, I think if we can take anything positive from it, it’s that we [00:30:00] need a big shift, this isn’t going away and we need to do something that can change and it needs to start from ourselves.


We can’t rely on the government. We can’t rely on the health authority. We can’t rely on anything. We have to be able to rely on ourselves to be able to make that shift.


Sean Burke: That’s such a powerful statement. I think, you know, reclaiming the ownership of putting yourself first and doing your own healing. I mean, I think that that’s such an important reminder for anyone listening is that you have the power and the capability of putting yourself first and recognizing and honoring your own well being needs in order to serve your patients.


So, before we move on from this topic, I just, to me, it seems like there is pushback, obviously, on the title, or it is provocative, but, why? Why does it need to be that way? [00:31:00] And, and why did you choose to keep this title for your book?


Shannon Hart: Yeah, it’s definitely, I want to get attention, um, with how healthcare is and how I think a lot of people in healthcare are viewed, you know, like, there is definitely a martyr kind of complex I think.


I know I’d absolutely like, don’t I’m not speaking for everyone, but for myself, I definitely had a little bit of a martyr complex. You know, it felt good when people would ask what I did and I said, well, I’m a nurse and, you know, you’d always got this really positive feedback from people, you know, like, oh, like, you guys work so hard and, you know, you really care about other people and I couldn’t do it.


And, you know, that gave me a little that fed me a little bit for a little while until I went into the burnout. And, I think the biggest hurdle is the fact that many of us have this [00:32:00] mentality that we have to serve others before ourselves that we’re not really learning because we’re just surrounding ourselves with other people who do the same thing.


And, like I said, it wasn’t until I started having friends who were outside of health care that were looking at me like, why are you doing this? And, and, you know, even some of the treatment that we get, even amongst our colleagues out of frustration or burnout, like, we’re, we’re not treating ourselves well either.

And that’s unfortunately something that’s tolerated, you know, healthcare workers I know are physically abused, probably way more than the other, any other profession. And, you know, if a person did some of the things to me that some of my patients have done on the street, you know, they would be arrested, but in health care, you know, they’re not being charged.


They’re not being reprimanded, you know, and unfortunately, this is just being tolerated and even for the people who are going [00:33:00] above and beyond and trying to speak out against it. There’s no change, right? Um, so, for me, I think the biggest thing is having that mindset shift, like, you know, this isn’t okay and whether or not we can save the system, at least we need to be able to stand up for ourselves personally and say, like, I’m not going to tolerate this anymore.

I don’t care what my manager says. I don’t care what, you know, anybody else says, I’m not putting up with this and it’s challenging. It’s scary that it’s come to this, but I think we do have to be firm.


And if anything is like, I mean, the burnout that I’ve experienced, I will never go down that route again, so for me, I would say it’s more uncomfortable for me to tolerate it, knowing what the damage has done, as opposed to having that moment of like, oh, this is scary to stand up for myself and say, no, um, the, the pain is worse on the other end, if that [00:34:00] makes sense.


Sean Burke: It really does. And, you know, I think that that’s probably a great place for us to end the conversation just in terms of leaving people with this 

realization, sorry, that again, the onus is back and being given to you, the individual,  to either prioritize your well being, to set those boundaries, to recognize that, you know, staying softer or leading with empathy that can be your superpower and you know, that’s probably what brought you to the profession in the first place.

But before we wrap up the show, I’d love to provide you with an opportunity to share any final thoughts or, or leave the listeners with any last messages that you might have.


Shannon Hart: Um, the biggest takeaway is definitely knowing that you are worthy of having your needs being taken care of. It’s [00:35:00] not just, you know, a worthiness, it is a responsibility as well. I think, you know, I talk about it in the book as well, where I say, you know, nobody is coming to save us.


I think, unfortunately, we’ve learned through the pandemic, like, our government couldn’t help us. Our health authority couldn’t help us. Our patients can’t help us. So it sounds a little bit harsh to say, like, nobody’s coming to save us, but I want to change that view and make it be really positive and empowering and that, you know, you have the power to make a difference in your own life.


Like, you hold the key to it. You don’t have to rely on anybody else. You have it already and through your empathy for showing other people the care that you’ve given, you know. You already have that skill. It’s in you already, so start showing it for yourself.


Sean Burke: Such a nice way to, you know, provide that opportunity and reminder for people to do that and to prioritize their [00:36:00] well being.

So, Shannon, thank you very much for coming on the show today. We want to make sure that everybody has access to getting the book, so we’ll make sure to add a link in the show notes where everybody can find your book and,you know, pick up a copy. So thank you again for being on the show. And, we just really appreciate all your guidance, your wisdom, and sharing your personal experience.


Shannon Hart: Thanks, Sean. Thank you for doing what you do too, cause caregivers definitely need it. I really appreciate it.


Sean Burke: Thanks for listening to this episode. Be sure to visit the links in the show notes for resources and supports from the Care for Caregivers program.

If you’re interested in sharing your story on the Care2Listen podcast, please reach out to us at careforcaregivers.ca/podcast. And don’t forget to follow us on your favourite podcast platform to be notified when new episodes are released. Thanks again for joining us and see you next month.