Thursday, 3 January 2013


An old friend asked on Facebook recently who people's mentor were & why. As a rule I generally do not respond to these types of mass questions. Quite often they seem to be cliche or not taken seriously. I tend to prefer in these instances to scroll on past ignoring it, or at best giving my answer in my head whilst not posting in the thread. I choose to do this mostly because I am private to all but my close associates. I don't really want these pearls of my life out for all to see.

What struck me in this post was the retrospection it caused me... This seems so rare in this day & age. Too often it seems we are in & out, leaving nothing sacred, almost like fast food friends & conversations. Quick, easy, gone as soon as it came & desiring more just as fast. I loathe this aspect of our society. So much so quick with nothing sacred.
It is with this in mind that I expound on my answers I gave to my old friend & the break in habit of not posting dear things on social media sites.
One of my mentors in life is a former professor; Sherri Tessyman, RN, MSN, PhD (candidate). She teaches medical/surgical nursing, advanced medical/surgical nursing & is a clinical instructor for both courses at Westminster College's School of Nursing and Health Sciences. I came to know her more closely during my final semester in nursing school at Westminster College. She was my clinical instructor for advanced med/surg & I cherished her constructive feedback.
Rob Nichols, DNP a paediatric endocrinology nurse practitioner and professor at Westminster once said "Sherri is the best example of a bed side nurse that exists." He would be embarrassed to know that I mentioned him here. However, his opion comes with an immense amount of respect within the Westminster community.
Even when in the ICU during my last nursing school clinical rotation Sherri would always say "Every patient needs a shower or bath, clean linens & an appropriate meal. This should be a daily process" I feel like today's nurse looses sight on that as we strive to become more respected by physicians. I find myself doing the same thing. But as I look back on my nursing school education (which was just a few months ago,) I remember that I am not a physician and do not want to be one. Among other things, nurses do for patients what they cannot do for themselves while trying to return the patient to the highest level of functioning possible.
Sherri, not only stressed the basics but the need for the nurse to be educated & prepared to meet the challenges that our profession grapples with on a daily basis. She simply expected us to do our homework and to be prepared for the clinical or the lecture or test. This was never spoken, just silently and strictly expected (the highest and most feared form of expectation.)
And with all of her expectations and lessons she gave me. One of my fondest memories was of a post clinical conference on valentines day 2012. Every single student in our clinical group had an emotional day. Several of our patients died, a couple came close but they were all critically ill. Fitting I suppose for an ICU rotation, death and severe illness is a fact of existence in these settings. Each student could not hold back the tears of heartbreak & concern for their patients. We were becoming nurses I suppose.
In this setting I saw a professor set aside her agenda for the conference & just listen to her students. Her nursing self came through and she cried with us. Her genuine concern & love for us as her students and colleagues was so prevalent. My heart was full that day, the sense of belonging and purpose has only been stronger when I served a mission & got married to my sweetheart. I knew at that moment that I had been given the opportunity to learn from one of my profession's masters. I also knew that my choice to become a nurse was the right one. Thank you, Sherri.
Another one of my mentors close to me that I am eternally grateful for is Pam Jensen, RN. She is a charge nurse at IMC on the Medical Telemetry floor, my place of employment. As I was a nurse's aide she took me under her wing and supported me through work and school by keeping my struggles in perspective.
I remember one day as an aide I was having a really good "poor me" pout about being a husband, father, full time employee and full time nursing student and all that was expected of me. I think at this point it I believe I was complaining about reading 100+ pages in preparation for Sherri's class the next day. Pam, who was charging that day said from her office very matter of fact: "I graduated nursing school as a divorced single mother of new born twins." That was all I needed to hear. I never felt "poor me" ever again. I felt "if Pammy can do it, I can do it." I really stepped up to the plate that day, thanks to Pam.
Another time she found me crying (almost ashamed to say) in the dietary room. I was caring for a young woman who was dying without her girls with her on Easter Sunday. The tragedy of it all was giving me a go for my money. The tears flowed freely that morning. Pam just simply put her arms around me and told me that the day she stops being able to cry with her patients is the day she is no longer a nurse.
This lesson came well before the experience on Valentine's day. I believe it prepared me for that. I have always remembered this day. I have remembered that Pam, my friend and nurse told me that it was okay to cry and it is okay for your patients to see you cry. The reality is that when a patient sees that a nurse has emotions and cares they are more likely to trust the nurse and medical team. We are no longer cold robotic technicians but healers, people, nurses who have only the patients best interest at heart. We see a lot of sad, emotional stuff in the hospital. It comes with the territory. Too often I find myself portraying professional exterior that is cold to the patient. Trying to ignore the emotion so that I can critically assess the situation and intelligently care for the patient.
But I feel that there are more times than I freely admit that could use less critical thinking and more emotion. I chose to be a nurse for the critical thinking, for the healing and helping of others, and for the emotion I could use. I just need to be more free with those emotions. Thank you, Pam. You have shown me how to care.
This list would not be complete with out mentioning my dear wife. Megan is everything to me. She is the love of my life, my lover, my best friend, my example and my mentor. She shows me how to be a good father and husband. She cares only for my best interest. She puts others needs above my own. She sacrificed more than she should have to get me through nursing school so that I could become a nurse and have the mentors I mentioned above.
She gave me my children, the opportunity to learn from them and the opportunity to love someone unconditionally. She is my greatest ally, my greatest mentor. Thank you, Megan. Thank you for everything you are and have done. Thank you for all I have not mentioned here and you know about. I love you.

Of course in closing, I cannot mention every person that has mentored me in this blog. It would be too long to even be practical. However, some that need mentioning. My father, for teaching me how to get done what needs to get done regardless of what I may personally want. My mother for teaching me how to be a loving parent. My brothers, and of course the multitude of friends I have made through out my life. In some fashion you are mentors to me. Thank you.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

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Saturday, 9 August 2008

Great Article My Manager At Work Gave Me

The Ladder of Inference
Excerpt from The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. Copyright 1994 by Peter M. Senge, Art Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts, Richard B. Ross, and Bryan J. Smith. Reprinted with permission.
We live in a world of self-generating beliefs which remain largely untested. We adopt those beliefs because they are based on conclusions, which are inferred from what we observe, plus our past experience. Our ability to achieve the results we truly desire is eroded by our feelings that:
Our beliefs are the truth.
The truth is obvious.
Our beliefs are based on real data.
The data we select are the real data.
For example: I am standing before the executive team, making a presentation. They all seem engaged and alert, except for Larry, at the end of the table, who seems bored out of his mind. He turns his dark, morose eyes away from me and puts his hand to his mouth. He doesn't ask any questions until I'm almost done, when he breaks in: "I think we should ask for a full report." In this culture, that typically means, "Let's move on." Everyone starts to shuffle their papers and put their notes away. Larry obviously thinks that I'm incompetent -- which is a shame, because these ideas are exactly what his department needs. Now that I think of it, he's never liked my ideas. Clearly, Larry is a power-hungry jerk. By the time I've returned to my seat, I've made a decision: I'm not going to include anything in my report that Larry can use. He wouldn't read it, or, worse still, he'd just use it against me. It's too bad I have an enemy who's so prominent in the company.
In those few seconds before I take my seat, I have climbed up what Chris Argyris calls a "ladder of inference," -- a common mental pathway of increasing abstraction, often leading to misguided beliefs:
I started with the observable data: Larry's comment, which is so self- evident that it would show up on a videotape recorder . . .
. . . I selected some details about Larry's behavior: his glance away from me and apparent yawn. (I didn't notice him listening intently one moment before) . . .
. . . I added some meanings of my own, based on the culture around me (that Larry wanted me to finish up) . . .
. . . I moved rapidly up to assumptions about Larry's current state (he's bored) . . .
. . . and I concluded that Larry, in general, thinks I'm incompetent. In fact, I now believe that Larry (and probably everyone whom I associate with Larry) is dangerously opposed to me . . .
. . . thus, as I reach the top of the ladder, I'm plotting against him.
It all seems so reasonable, and it happens so quickly, that I'm not even aware I've done it. Moreover, all the rungs of the ladder take place in my head. The only parts visible to anyone else are the directly observable data at the bottom, and my own decision to take action at the top. The rest of the trip, the ladder where I spend most of my time, is unseen, unquestioned, not considered fit for discussion, and enormously abstract. (These leaps up the ladder are sometimes called "leaps of abstraction.")
I've probably leaped up that ladder of inference many times before. The more I believe that Larry is an evil guy, the more I reinforce my tendency to notice his malevolent behavior in the future. This phenomenon is known as the "reflexive loop": our beliefs influence what data we select next time. And there is a counterpart reflexive loop in Larry's mind: as he reacts to my strangely antagonistic behavior, he's probably jumping up some rungs on his own ladder. For no apparent reason, before too long, we could find ourselves becoming bitter enemies.
Larry might indeed have been bored by my presentation -- or he might have been eager to read the report on paper. He might think I'm incompetent, he might be shy, or he might be afraid to embarrass me. More likely than not, he has inferred that I think he's incompetent. We can't know, until we find a way to check our conclusions.
Unfortunately, assumptions and conclusions are particularly difficult to test. For instance, suppose I wanted to find out if Larry really thought I was incompetent. I would have to pull him aside and ask him, "Larry, do you think I'm an idiot?" Even if I could find a way to phrase the question, how could I believe the answer? Would I answer him honestly? No, I'd tell him I thought he was a terrific colleague, while privately thinking worse of him for asking me.
Now imagine me, Larry, and three others in a senior management team, with our untested assumptions and beliefs. When we meet to deal with a concrete problem, the air is filled with misunderstandings, communication breakdowns, and feeble compromises. Thus, while our individual IQs average 140, our team has a collective IQ of 85.
The ladder of inference explains why most people don't usually remember where their deepest attitudes came from. The data is long since lost to memory, after years of inferential leaps. Sometimes I find myself arguing that "The Republicans are so-and-so," and someone asks me why I believe that. My immediate, intuitive answer is, "I don't know. But I've believed it for years." In the meantime, other people are saying, "The Democrats are so-and-so," and they can't tell you why, either. Instead, they may dredge up an old platitude which once was an assumption. Before long, we come to think of our longstanding assumptions as data ("Well, I know the Republicans are such-and-such because they're so-and-so"), but we're several steps removed from the data.

Using the Ladder of Inference
You can't live your life without adding meaning or drawing conclusions. It would be an inefficient, tedious way to live. But you can improve your communications through reflection, and by using the ladder of inference in three ways:
Becoming more aware of your own thinking and reasoning (reflection);
Making your thinking and reasoning more visible to others (advocacy);
Inquiring into others' thinking and reasoning (inquiry).
Once Larry and I understand the concepts behind the "ladder of inference," we have a safe way to stop a conversation in its tracks and ask several questions:
What is the observable data behind that statement?
Does everyone agree on what the data is?
Can you run me through your reasoning?
How did we get from that data to these abstract assumptions?
When you said "[your inference]," did you mean "[my interpretation of it]"?
I can ask for data in an open-ended way: "Larry, what was your reaction to this presentation?" I can test my assumptions: "Larry, are you bored?" Or I can simply test the observable data: "You've been quiet, Larry." To which he might reply: "Yeah, I'm taking notes; I love this stuff."
Note that I don't say, "Larry, I think you've moved way up the ladder of inference. Here's what you need to do to get down." The point of this method is not to nail Larry (or even to diagnose Larry), but to make our thinking processes visible, to see what the differences are in our perceptions and what we have in common. (You might say, "I notice I'm moving up the ladder of inference, and maybe we all are. What's the data here?")
This type of conversation is not easy. For example, as Chris Argyris cautions people, when a fact seems especially self-evident, be careful. If your manner suggests that it must be equally self-evident to everyone else, you may cut off the chance to test it. A fact, no matter how obvious it seems, isn't really substantiated until it's verified independently -- by more than one person's observation, or by a technological record (a tape recording or photograph).
Embedded into team practice, the ladder becomes a very healthy tool. There's something exhilarating about showing other people the links of your reasoning. They may or may not agree with you, but they can see how you got there. And you're often surprised yourself to see how you got there, once you trace out the links

Friday, 25 April 2008

Major Changes to the Family Campout

I have made some major changes to the family camp out. No longer will it be held in July. We are going the middle of August. Further, we are now at Mirror Lake Campground (same place as last year.)

New Dates: August 14-17 for the reservation. This is a Thursday through Sunday.

Backpack Trip will be held from August 14-15.
The actual family portion will be from the 15 (Friday) to the 17 (Sunday) However, if you would like to come up Thursday you are more than welcome. You will be responsible for your own food however.

Food assignments will stay the same. The cost will be similar with no expected change. The backpacking destination will be the same unless otherwise noted. I would like the family feed back on this so please review and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Thanksgiving Point Scottish Festival & Highland Games

This is a fun event even if you are not scottish! If you do come, come by the Stewart Tent and say hello!

When: June 13-14

Friday: 5 pm – 10 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 10 pm

Where: Electric Park at Thanksgiving Point, Lehi Utah


Friday Evening Tattoo: $7
Friday Evening Concert: $5
Saturday Adults: $10
Children: $7

Weekend Rate:

Adults: $16
Children: $13

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Dive Bomb

Probably not a good idea to play "DiveBomb" right after you feed your baby. This Bomb hit it's mark almost spot on with about half landing in my mouth... the other half was on the face.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Heywood Family Campout 2008

Family Meal Schedule:

Friday Lunch: Bring Your Own

Friday Dinner: Blake & Breckon

Saturday Breakfast: Mason & Anna

Saturday Lunch: Amanda, Courtney & Tyler

Saturday Dinner: Paul & Megan

Sunday Breakfast: Kris and Mindy

Sunday Lunch: Mom & Dad

Dates: Main Camp: July 18th, 19th & 20th Backpacking Portion: July 17th & 18th

Campground: Moosehorn, Sites 28 & 30

Cost: -$6 per adult for the campsite reservations
-$6 per car for the recreation pass into the forest

Notifications: We are NOT at Mirror Lake this year, we are at Moosehorn Campground. It is about one half mile before Mirror Lake if coming from Kamas on SR 105. The Entrance is on the left side of the road instead of the right and is the campground just before Mirror Lake.

Again, the fire hazard is predicted to be HIGH once again. Be cautious even with the wet winter we had. Fires will only be allowed in the fire pits already in place.

We are only allowed 2 cars per site (total of 4 cars for the family.) We need to car pool the best we can. Any additional cars will be assessed a $10 per night fee. Also, make sure that if you do drive that your recreation pass is displayed in your front window.

We’ll have babies up there with us so keep on eye on them. Keep them safe! Help out their parents if they need it. And if you have a baby please, do your child the favor of bringing them along so they may gain an appreciation of the natural world Heavenly Father gave us.
This is the view from Moosehorn Lake.

Topographic map showing the Moosehorn Campground in relation to Mirror Lake.

Backpacking Portion 2008

Dates: July 17th & 18th

Destination: Amethyst Lake*

Distance: 13.2 miles round trip (6.6 miles one way)

Elevation Change: 1,950 Ft

Trail Head: Christmas Meadows
*Destination still to be determined

I removed the confirmation numbers for security. Otherwise this post is the same as what I have given the family.

2 Party System

Let me preface this posting by stating that any political-governmental system that is in place will work and be functional when and if the leaders of that system are moral, ethical and above all, in the position to serve the people they are called or elected to lead. The reverse is also true. Any political-governmental system in place with ultimately fail if the leader of that system is amoral, corrupt, and in the position for personal/political gain. Having said this, our founding fathers did their best to protect the fledgling country they were beginning by introducing a system of checks and balances. There by limiting the governing power of any one individual by splitting it up among groups of leaders. I believe that their reasoning for this was because of their belief that the majority of the people would not be corrupt or seeking personal goals.

The country as a whole outside of the world of politics, I believe, is ethical and moral. Inside the world of politics however, I see the Federal and upper levels State Governments as ruled by interest groups and plagued by those seeking personal gain. This is not to say that every individual in the upper echelons of the government are corrupt. However, I do see more and more evidence that individuals are more focused on themselves, their gains & their obligations to those that helped them rise to power; rather than the country and the good of the people for which they are elected to serve.

The country has through its life created two political parties. In essence these parties are the “conservative” Republicans and the “liberal” Democrats. Ultimately, I have personally found that the two parties boil down to two major ideas on Federal and Central Governments. The Republicans work for a smaller centralized government with more control going to the local governments. The Democrats work for a larger centralized government with smaller local governments subservient to the central government. This is nothing to say about the conservative or liberal nature to the issues with which the political parties work towards.

I think that the issues (i.e. abortion, definition of marriage, national defense, the economy, taxes, etc.) only arise from the people that participate in the party. Will the Democratic Party one day, be considered more conservative than the republicans? I think that it is a real possibility.

My reasoning comes from what I have seen happen in local and national elections and what is happening in legislative sessions both locally and nationally. Let me use the local issue of School Vouchers as an example. Local Republican officials overwhelmingly supported school vouchers. This would move the control from larger centralized governments of the state and school boards to the local person by using tax dollars to subsidize private charter schools. However, Democrats moved to oppose the school vouchers. There by keeping the tax payer’s dollars in the school districts and the public schools. Not using public tax funds for private schools and charter schools.

Now I must ask myself, where do I put me on this scale? Am I a Republican or a Democrat? The question I feel must be answered as we are only in a two party system. To have my vote and my voice really be heard I have no other choices. The question unfortunately, has very little to do with the morality of the issues, ethics or the sides of the story. Members from each party that are in control consistently find themselves on either side of the aisle. Therefore, I do not think that party affiliation has anything to do with conservatism or liberalism. I believe that it has to do with what your view of government should be, i.e. large centralized governments with smaller localized districts or smaller centralized government with larger local precincts. With this definition, I place my self in the Republican Party. This however, I must state has nothing to do with the issue I mentioned above. I was overwhelming AGAINST school vouchers! (Blog coming discussing my position on this issue possibly in the future.)

Now, where do I place myself on the Conservative-Liberal Scale? I would put myself as moderate conservative. I consider myself open minded to other people’s views. I like to look at what is presented objectively and then make a decision that way. I do not just take a look at an issue then say: “Well other’s that are in my circle say this about the issue so I will too.” When I look at most issues with an open mind and subjectively I find myself taking a conservative point of view. I am pro marriage, pro life, I see national defense as a major need, I feel privatized health care is the reason for our high health standards in this country, and I think that the economy is best self managed rather than the government taking major controlling steps industry. I am deathly afraid of socialism. I see socialism as one step to total governmental control of the people and a step in the direction of communism. I have lived in a socialistic country and found it deeply flawed. I saw people that were not industrious and dependant on the government for their livelihood. They find it easier to collect the government welfare checks rather than working to support themselves and their families. I feel that the socialist system must be avoided for this reason. Any step towards this is a step in the wrong direction.

Should we help the poor? Yes, I believe we must help them to get into a position that they can begin to help themselves. Do we need healthcare reform? Yes, we should do so in a way that the market drives down prices. Do we need to continue in Iraq? Of course, we must sort out the mess that we started and not just leave a struggling nation to the wolves of extremism. Are we the “big brother” of the world? I think to an extent we are, so long as we have sorted out ourselves we have an obligation to help others in need when we have the means to do so.

As for staying away from Socialism and governmental market control, capitalism is in essence a good system. It rewards those that work hard and does not significantly reward those that are lethargic. I must say that any economic system will be flawed in one way or another. I do not think that there is a perfect economic system out there that will completely be void of all corruption and exploitation. There will be those that can take advantage and get ahead. There will be those that struggle their entire life and not go anywhere; however, the capitalist system, as a whole, rewards effort and perseverance.

As for the two party system that the country uses, I find it flawed. I would like to see parties that are truly based on conservatism, liberalism or moderate-ism, along with the ideas of government power. I would like to have more real choice than just two parties. I would like to not be forced between the “lesser of two evils.” I feel like my voice is not heard because of my Moderate views. Who is there to voice the views of the Ultra-Conservative when a Moderate is running against a Liberal? For that matter, what happens when anyone is not represented? How do we account for that? I don’t think that there one all-reaching way that we can have every voice heard, or every point of view represented.

I simply find it frustrating when those elected are not representative of your views. It is even more frustrating when neither of those that ran for the elected office on both sides of the ticket are not representative of your views. I don’t want to seem like a poor looser of sorts, let the candidate win that gains the majority of the vote, (thereby representing the majority of the populace.) However, my cry is: “Give me a voice that can be heard!”

Sunday, 9 March 2008

American Arrogance

Where do I want my country to be in four years? I would like to see us more tolerant of other people, & cultures. I think that we need to realize how we became what we are. As a powerful and wealthy nation we have a responsibility to be the big brother of the world. I would like to see compassion to those less fortunate in our own country. I want to see a country of people that works hard rather than expecting the government to take care of them. I would like to see the country more patriotic and open about their patriotism. I would like to see out political leaders lead with ethics and a strong sense of morality, rather than acting in self political preservation.

Where do I think we are now? I see the country spinning out of control. I see lip service paid to the important issues with no real hard action taking place. I see us as habitual consumers with no regard of natural limitations. I see people expecting the government to bail them out of their own bad choices. I have seen and heard people making decisions based on the superficial. (“Hillary Clinton just looks like a good president.” “I am voting for Obama because he is black.” “I could never vote for Romney because he is Mormon.” “John McCain is just too old to be president.”) I see the world looking at us in disdain and rightly so. We have been ill informed and too concerned with our selves, too eager to shoot and ask questions later. We have been too arrogant of our position and our own superiority.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Recantation on My view on Pits

I have gotten a lot of crap for my view on the pits at the Willem Show on Saturday. It seems that I am just an old man and don't know what I am talking about. Sorry. I take it back, beat the hell out of anyone weather they like it or not. This seems to be the way it is at shows these days. I apologize for the yearning for the days when people were polite in the pits and watched out for the people who didn't want to be apart of them and wanted to maybe watch the band that is playing up on stage. Whatever, I guess those days are gone. Good on you Salt Lake for having the reputation of being a violent scene, you must be the wave of the future. (originally posted March 1, 2005)