Reflections and acceptance from my last blog

I’m quite stunned by the impact of my last blog. I didn’t expect it to be read by so many people to be honest, I’ve always seen it as a way of helping me empty the thoughts in my head that are taking up too much room and time. A way of expressing and exploring how I feel.

It should be possible to talk about those feelings but to do this job often requires me to bury what’s going on inside my head and focus on what’s needed to get it done. The pace is so fast and demand so high you get to a point, way past home time when you just need to walk away. Get home. Get rested. With that and being an INFJ, I’d be breaking my mould to alter my behaviour too much…

Writing this all down and sharing it meant that I was contacted by many people who also felt the same way. Many people who were struggling and that being able to hear someone else was feeling the same way helped them.

Knowing that is was not just me, that I was not loosing my grip on reality reassured me. It’s really helped me into this week as we shift into another swathe of changes to adapt to and deliver.

I have never chosen a job based upon the premise that it would be easy. I like a job with a bit of adrenaline, I like an environment where the day is always different. The choice to be a scrub nurse, a clincial risk advisor and work in health protection were all made with the knowledge that I had no idea how to do them but they looked like a challenge. It’s the same for the job I am in now. Whilst the move from working within PHE to a post nearer to home was definitely driven by a need to be with my family more, there were many other jobs I could have applied for that would have been much easier.

So how do you balance the point where a job is exciting and challlenging to make sure it’s not physically and mentally too hard to handle. Having reflected on what was distressing me the most it was control, or lack of control that was creating the biggest challenge to me.

So time to start accepting what I can’t control….as that very word is part of my job title and a deeply ingrained part of me, this will need some work.

I can’t control or prevent patients acquiring this infection and coming into the hospital. I can’t control the regular, predictable Friday guidance change even though I feel we should. I can’t control the move towards providing something as close to business as usual as we would dare, even though I think it’s too early. I can’t really control the way the Trust is required to respond to this even though I feel decisions are being made without the input from the IPC team. These are the consequences of a pandemic, not the management by the Trust I work for or the NHS as a whole.

I can control how we respond to the demands of this. Where we place our efforts and focus. I can control and drive the learning from cases that have been identified after admission. How we as a team work together with other teams to share our learning. How I work within Dorset with the other IPC leads to develop a future intergrated care service that will be much different to that we were planning for.

But more importantly I can control how I feel, or how this effects me. I have gained wisdom from this. From colleagues and friends contacting me. From people I only know through social media and am never likely to meet who contacted me. I’ve got more to think through but to help me I know I need to..

Run once a day. It does not need to be long, but the meditative effect of this is now more important than a Strava monthly mileage success. I maybe doing way less miles than I’d like but making these quality moments of recovery will be my focus.

Accept the fact that change, and it’s associated feelings are to be felt and understood. To share those feelings with others to see how they feel, that may be easier than expressing how i feel myself.

Accept that though many of my colleagues and friends are out of reach, they are not out of touch. If anything we are closer and stronger as an organisation because of this.

At some point, with those friends I want to be able to look back at this time. To remember those that did not survive but to also recognise all those we saved and all that we learnt as a society as well as in healthcare.

One comment

  1. Hi Paul.
    Another very insightful and candid blog. Much of which has resonated personally with me.
    I hope you forgive me getting all theological but reading the words in your blog and depth of feeling I was minded of the often quoted prayer which was written by
    Reinhold Niebuhr an American Reformed theologian.
    These words almost echo those expressed in your blog.
    It goes…
    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
    Take care Paul.Stay Safe.
    Kind regards
    Glynn

    Like

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