Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference

BRMCWC friends at the coffee shop at Ridgecrest Conference Center

This will be my third time attending the BRMCWC. This is the first place where I discovered I didn’t have a clue how to write fiction. For someone who made the Dean’s list in college, I didn’t take this revelation well, but alas, the truth hits us the hardest sometimes.

Anyway, I dug into the classes and began studying how to write fiction. Three years later and I finally, just now, feel like I’m understanding the process … some. The amount of information comes at you like one of those huge buckets at a waterpark emptying on your head. So what’s a first-time conference attendee to do to keep from being overwhelmed?

Try out these things below:

Bring author cards. These are little business type cards that give your information to other writers. When we all return home, we make tons of social media connections, check out people’s websites and read blog posts. The people I’ve connected with at conferences have become an army of friends, support and encouragement. Trust me, you’ll want to trade cards.

Talk to others. Some of the best-established authors, editors and agents attend this conference. This is where I met my agent, joined a writer’s group and discovered a tribe of other helpful authors rooting for all of our success. This is a very welcoming community and many are there to help along this new journey.

Be polite and kind. There is no worse way to make an impression than to chase an editor down the hall waving your manuscript at them. Thankfully, I’ve never seen this happen, but I’ve heard stories of editors and agents being approached in the restroom. Time to implement some common sense. Is that really how we want to be remembered by the one person who could make or break our writing career? Instead, let’s sign up for appointments, talk to them at the lunch or dinner tables or in the lounges and coffee shops when they are hanging out after hours. Better yet, play a game and ask them to join without any ulterior motive at all. Trust me, you have plenty of time to get your manuscript to them because this publishing journey is slow…which brings me to my next point.

Relax. I remember feeling overwhelmed the first time I came and thought I had to get my whole career secured in this one week. This journey is like an Atlanta Braves ball game tied in the ninth inning with no outs and rain clouds are moving overhead. There’s no need to rush the field. You’ve got plenty of time. Pick a few things to accomplish while there and enjoy the classes, the friendships, and the coffee.

Devote each day to God. This really should be the first point, but I wanted this to be the last thing to keep fresh in your mind. We need God’s graceful hand holding ours down the path to becoming an author. He’s the only One who can open doors, create divine appointments, provide encouragement and guidance beyond all we could ever ask, think or imagine. That’s the one thing I’m learning through all this … that I must put in the work and write the stories He gives, then release them to Him, for His will, not my own.

Kayaking with the Redmons – Lower Green River

This was a fun float on a beautiful day. We put in at Fish Top Access and floated to Big Rock. We use open top boats so we were a little concerned if we’d make it through the Class II rapids without any issues. We did get wet, but had a blast! Check out the first part of our float.

What Could Go Wrong – The Drunk Patient

For those of you who are getting to know me, I’ve been in the medical field for over twenty years and have had some interesting experiences.

Medical shows love to use imaging procedures in their episodes, but often times the scenes do not follow a realistic procedure protocol or the drama is escalated in over the top scenarios.

Everything from doctor’s running the MRI machine to using the wrong probes or technology in ultrasound, our television shows get the details wrong more often than right. Good thing most actors are easy on the eyes so we tend to forgive the script errors a bit more.

In an effort to provide positive change and help writers produce accurate material for their storylines, the What Could Go Wrong Series will reveal real-life cases witnessed by personnel in healthcare environments or realistic scenarios that could happen in a medical setting.

Real-Life Case

A man with a high alcohol level came into the x-ray department from the ER for multiple images of his arm and shoulder. He’d been in a bar fight.

Technologist positioned the man’s arm into a painful posture to get diagnostic images. The man cussed the radiographer. With his good arm, he hauled off and hit the healthcare professional, knocking her to the floor. She got back up, dusted herself off and dove back in, calling for help to restrain the patient.  

Unlike most TV shows where a slew of physicians rush in to aid the staff, our doctors remained in their radiology offices or in the ER department tending to other patient cases. If we waited for them to intervene, the attacker could inflict more damage.

In real life, other x-ray team members entered and donned lead shields. They held the man in position while another radiographer took the image from outside the room. Healthcare workers acted in the moment and moved as a team to keep the scenario under control.

If for some reason, a physician had been nearby or in the department, then they might help with the situation. However, most radiologists read from their offices and ER doctors remain in their workspace taking care of other trauma cases.

Real World Facts

Radiographers and other healthcare professionals must deal with verbal patient abuse. When things turn physical, we must stay calm and keep a clear head.

A 2017 study by the National Institute of Health determined that patient to worker assault in the healthcare setting was a serious occupational hazard with frontline staff being at a higher risk for Type II violence. (Arnetz, 2017)

These scenarios impact the employee’s wellbeing, decrease morale, and can cause depressions or even post-traumatic stress long after the incident is over.

New Storyline

Now, imagine a TV character with this storyline. A drunk patient attacks the healthcare worker, a nurse, doctor, technologist, etc. and the emotional and psychological stress impacts every area of their life for several months. Even after the patient sobers, the effects of what he’s done could provide issues in his life and or recovery.

Sounds like an episode or two with loads of drama yet realistic to real world healthcare.

References

Arnetz, Judith E, et al. “Preventing Patient-to-Worker Violence in Hospitals: Outcome of a Randomized Controlled Intervention.” J Occup Environ Med, Jan. 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5214512/