We have developed a curriculum for discussion of Keepers of the House in the classroom. Depending on learning goals, elements of exercise #1 and exercise #2 can be blended together into a single learning session.
KEEPERS OF THE HOUSE EXERCISE #1 – FILM VIEWING FOLLOWED BY LARGE AND SMALL GROUP REFLECTION
This curriculum is based on our research with groups of students who have viewed the film and is designed for either interprofessional groups of learners, or learners who are all involved in the same process of health career training. It is suitable for inclusion in a variety of courses, and is ideally presented in a 60-90 minute time slot. Powerpoint slide sets for either in person or virtual facilitation are available for download here: in-person slides or virtual slides.
The following format for viewing of the film and discussion corresponds to the Powerpoint slides:
I. IN THE LARGE GROUP (20-25 minutes)
View the film (15 minutes) and provide time for viewers to reflect in writing on these three questions (5-10 minutes) :
What is your reaction to the film?
What surprised you most about the film?
What was your favorite story in the film?
II. DIVIDE INTO SMALL GROUPS (30 minutes)
The small groups have two tasks:
- Participants will share their reflections about the three questions and discuss (10-15 minutes). The facilitator may want to ask participants to consider the ways in which our level of surprise about the remarkable work of housekeepers is a reflection of our implicit biases about race, class, and gender.
- What can we learn from the interactions between housekeepers and patients and their families? (15 minutes) We have identified 4 of the most important themes in the stories: (a) emotional impact of working with patients, (b) unique noticing by housekeepers, (c) advice/ support of patients by housekeepers, (d) listening to the patients by housekeepers. (See Table of Themes and Prompts).
This table can serve as a resource for the facilitator in helping participants to access these themes. As one possibility, each break-out group could be asked by its facilitator to consider one of the four themes.
These conversations can be facilitated by questions accessing the story (i.e. “What came up for you when Hilda talked to a patient about not giving up?”) and leading to the theme of “Support.” Alternatively, questions about the theme can facilitate the stories showing that theme (i.e. “How did you see support from housekeepers for patients in this film?”). See this linked film guide for specific locations of stories.
III. RETURN TO LARGE GROUP (20 minutes)
The following closure question in large group helps participants articulate and confirm what they each take from this learning experience
What will you take from this film to your practice in healthcare? To your life? How might you act differently?
The large group can also be encouraged to come up with action items, either related to their own future behavior or suggesting ways that health systems can show understanding and appreciation for the vital work of housekeepers or integrate housekeepers into the health care team.
KEEPERS OF THE HOUSE EXERCISE #2 – AN EVIDENCE BASED ANALYSIS OF SPECIFIC QUESTIONS RAISED BY THE FILM
The themes that are raised by the film Keepers of the House allow for the consideration of the following topics, which are highlighted in these Powerpoint slides of suggested readings. There is also a facilitator guide with readings that will allow students to explore more deeply various lessons of the films.
- How do our actions affect housekeepers? Research indicates that the extent to which housekeepers feel valued or devalued in their work depends on the numerous daily social interactions with doctors, nurses and other members of the health care team
- How can we become better at noticing? In the film, the very act of noticing the previously unnoticed allows housekeepers to make important interventions. There are specific techniques and attitudes that allow us to practice empathic curiosity and in the moment awareness..
- How do we find value in our work? The housekeepers in the film have found ways to craft their work to give it an additional meaning, and consider their jobs as a vocation. We cite research that reflects on this important process.
- How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected housekeepers? The film was made before the beginning of the pandemic. In the absence of patient visitors, the emotional work of the housekeepers in support of lonely patients has become even more important. Also, the working conditions of housekeepers during the pandemic have led to new occupational hazards, highlighting the economic divides within our society.