« Recommended Books for Healthcare Workers | Fingertips Home | Coumadin and Diabetes »

June 21, 2010

Process and Perfectionism

I have a lot to talk about after last week's clinic experience. I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to write down my thoughts. Every night is like a problem-based learning lesson. Patients in neuro-rehab are involved, to say the least.

This clinic is a challenging one for me. Working with a cognitive impairment population may not be the place for me. I feel hugely incompetent. I realize I am just learning, but honestly, I'm scaring myself. Every time I turn around, I'm being reminded that a situation is not safe. Safety is first and foremost in a population that cannot be safe for themselves. Safety hazards exist in placed I don't even think of. Never mind trying to treat every patient as though they were my grandparents; I probably wouldn't have realized they were at risk until one slipped and fell.

And so, I am learning. Maybe after 12 weeks, these things will be more automatic and I will calm down, but for right now things do not feel like they are going well. I feel cognitively impaired. When did I develop brain damage? Is it contagious? Luckily, in this environment, we are only supposed to juggle two patients at a time.

My problem is I feel like I should already know this stuff. I keep having to remind myself that I'm learning, but I'm also under the gun to perform for a grade. And I'm not perfect. Nobody is. According to a recent seminar presented by the hospital, most people who are vulnerable to burnout are idealistic, perfectionists, overly committed, care too much, go to the extreme, becoming exhausted and overwhelmed by responsibility, or frustrated by the lack of authority or reward. In short, most health care workers.

So not only do I need to learn about being a physical therapist during this clinical rotation, I need to learn to be okay with making mistakes. I need to forgive myself for not being perfect. As my clinical instructor has reminded me, if I already knew this stuff, I'd be licensed and drawing a paycheck. And who better can a learn from than my patients. They too are driven by goals that they must accomplish in order to be released from the hospital and manage their home life. The pressure to "get it" by some discharge bears a resemblance to my own inner dialog. And yet I am able to remind the that there is no "test." They just need to do their best and cut themselves a little slack. Life and learning, after all, is a process.

Posted by linda at June 21, 2010 12:41 PM

blog comments powered by Disqus

  Web massage.largeheartedboy.com