Within days I am to embark upon my new role as a “Consultant in Emergency Medicine with a special interest in Simulation”. Throughout my training, friends and colleagues have repeatedly told me that nothing really prepares you for this transition, but surely there are some things, which I have learnt over the last 10 years, that have prepared me for this?
I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about this a lot, and as I have reflected I have come up with a list of 5 things that I believe will stand me in good stead in the weeks and years to come.
I have been incredibly lucky to have had some great supervisors during my training, and with two of them I have built up a mentoring relationship over the years. I have found having a mentor invaluable, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have aimed high enough to achieve a bespoke job plan, incorporating simulation, without their encouragement. One of these mentors is going to be my Consultant colleague and it is fantastic to know that I will have the support of someone I respect and trust so close to hand. The other is conveniently placed at a different hospital – meaning that I will have someone to talk with outside of my immediate circle of work if I need to.
As well as gaining myself some mentors throughout training I have forged strong friendships. These bonds seem especially strong as they are born of common interests and shared adversity. There are those who will listen to me vent when I just need to get something of my chest, or gee me up when I’m feeling a touch flat. Friends with whom sharing silence brings the comfort of just knowing they are there for you, and friends who bring laughter and bubbles at any excuse. Feeling that together we can take on the world and set right any wrongs gives me the confidence to take on any challenges I may face.
Critical Appraisal Skills
At the beginning of my training I would have never have thought I would learn to value this skill so much. It irked me that Journals would publish papers that weren’t 100% perfect in the first place – so naïve was my understanding of research and publishing. It was really only because revising for FRCEM forced me to learn about critical appraisal that I understood its worth. I can honestly say it has completely changed the way I read papers. I feel that I am so much better prepared to deliver evidence-based medicine now I have the skills to go back and weight up the evidence, with relevance to my own patients and place of work, myself.
I think that many of us suffer from that “imposter syndrome” – the feeling that at some point someone is going to find out that we actually really don’t know half the things we should. FOAMed helps me try to tackle this in as proactive a way possible, especially when combined with those aforementioned critical appraisal skills! It makes it easier for me to keep up to date and I can refresh my memory of topics with simple to reach, bite-sized learning. It has also helped me to develop my personal learning network, so when I don’t know the answer to something I know where to look and who to ask.
Kindness begets kindness. Everyone has days where things seem pretty tough, some more than others, and unless you know someone really well it can be hard to know where they’re at. The words we use, our tone of voice etc, essentially how we interact and communicate with each other, can have a real impact on how we make people feel. Kindness is also contagious, if you’re kind to others, they will be kind back, and when we are kind and respectful to each other our work environment is a much better place. Not to mention the impact that simply being kind has on our patients.
My Grandmother gave me this poem when I was younger, and it lives pinned up by my desk:
So, as I finish getting myself set to step up to this new role I’m going to keep these five things in mind, and take a copy of that poem to prop up on my desk.