I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once – Jennifer Yane

Today I went to work to fill in for a colleague to help facilitate a ‘well-being’ session for our final year students who are currently on placement. The head of the uni counselling service came to talk to the students about dealing with stress, anxiety and perfectionism amongst other things whilst on placement.

It became apparently clear to me that many health science professionals, including our students, the future of the professions, are dealing with significant pressures- either self-imposed or perceived. Regardless of  where they come from they feel real. The other thing that struck me is- we don’t talk about it. There’s a sense that it’s safer to keep quiet for fear of the consequences- for them failure on placement. The conversations I had with these wonderful students today inspired me, it made me realise I am on the right track with my PhD, there is a purpose to this. I hope for them that it will make a difference to our section of society, it may not win a Nobel prize but I hope that it will make a difference in some small way for future students.

So in amongst the shopping, the picking up my daughter from a friends because I couldn’t pick her up from kinder today because I was working, the cooking dinner, picking up my son from school, taking them to taekwondo and coming home and crashing, I had a bit of a lightbulb moment. We need to start speaking up about our fears, making it acceptable to make mistakes, if we don’t model this for our students then it becomes the norm to think that we have to aim for perfection. At the beginning of the day it felt like I had a million and one things to do, almost overwhelmingly so- I needed to do everything and do it right! As the day progressed and the lightbulb went on a few things slipped by the wayside- and you know what? The world did not stop, my family are all safe and well and I survived without any injuries!

Today also made me reflect back on two great books I read over the summer at the beginning of this year by Dr Brene Brown. I would recommend them to anyone. See her website by clicking on her name. Her TEDx talks are also well worth a look. So go out and “Dare Greatly” people!