• Pay it Forward. The investment and gift that keeps on giving..

    by Jess Morton. Last modified: 18/04/15


    The notion of “Paying it forward” is not new. People around the world have been practicing the concept for years. There is an aptly titled movie “Pay it forward” with Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt depicting how one person can change the world by simply paying forward the blessings bestowed upon them.

    I have since found out there is “Pay it forward day”; an international movement involving over 70 countries encouraging people to pay it forward. Such simple acts may be paying for the coffee, petrol or McDonalds for the person behind you.

    As a result of the generosity that has been extended to me of late, it got me thinking. How can Medicine, nursing and paramedicine be open to the same gift?

    For those that have read my rambles before, you will know how much of a fan I am of the SMACC (Social Media & Critical Care) conference. This June, I, along with over 2000 others with converge in Chicago for #smaccUS. It is simply fact however, that I would not be going overseas and getting that first stamp on my passport if it were not for the generosity of others. It is from the receipt of sponsorship and bursary funding that has allowed me to do something that I started to believe I could never do.

    This year when delegates registered for SMACC, they were given an option to donate an extra amount of money to be given to students to assist them in getting to the conference. Thus far, over 145 delegates have contributed to this fund, which is being fairly divided amongst students across the world.

    I recently heard of a consultant, who whenever she goes away to conferences, books a double room. This only costs her a few dollars more but allows her to invite a medical student or resident to stay with her for free.

    The multitude of costs involved in attending a seminar or conference these days is extraordinary.

    Being offered free accommodation, or registration can make the difference between being able to go or not.  This consultant, whoever she may be, epitomises the objective of Paying it forward.

    Before I went on my on-road placements, we were told it is the etiquette for the student to buy the coffee. -I went prepared. However, my mentors would regularly override my attempt to get the bill and would actually pay for me. They would tell me how they remember being the “broke uni-student” and that was their way of paying it forward.

    I have a friend who has gone above and beyond in this past week to seek out assistance to enable me to achieve something I originally set out to do. He tells me it is because once upon a time, many people did that for him. People paid for, helped him, took him and sent him to places and gave him opportunities he wouldn’t have otherwise had.

    There are clinicians everywhere who have had their self esteem elevated and motivation salvaged by that wondrous professor, clinical educator, mentor and star who has generously offered their time, encouragement, opportunity and even a financial relief.

    Consider who it was that gave you a leg up when you were just starting? Who gave you extra time, or advocated for a sponsorship for you..

    I have been questioning as to ‘why’ I have got so lucky. I don’t know.. But someone told me this week, my job isn’t to pay it back… It is to pay it forward..

    I promise I will…. What can you do?


    (Image from http://brunetteanthem.com/2014/08/pay-it-forward/)

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    Jess Morton

    Jess Morton

    Student Paramedic.
    I am an Australian undergraduate Student Paramedic. I study part-time as I am also Mum to 2 beautiful boys. I am passionate about Friendship, Family & #FOAMed. I am keen to get more experienced as well as student Paramedics into the FOAM world to enable better access to education to result in better patient care. My interests include photography, thick shakes and sleeping in past 6am.

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