Reflections on the last 10 years
I have now been a consultant psychiatrist for over a decade and it has been an absolute privilege to make a difference to many patients over the years. Working as a psychiatrist has taught me so much and being able to support people from all walks of life is truly a humbling experience. I have learnt from colleagues and from patients and have come to appreciate how challenging and complex things can be. Our understanding of the human body and the mind keeps expanding and we still have so much to discover.
The core values of compassion and collaboration have helped shape my clinical interactions. I understand the importance of being authentic and working in partnership with patients is very much needed for the recovery process. I have always looked to add more skills to my portfolio and I believe in continuous education. Learning about the impact of trauma on individuals (and groups) and being able to bring a trauma informed lens (using the EMDR model) to consultations has helped most. In addition, being able to explore relationships (both internal and external) and using therapy tools from the CAT model works really well.
My clinical practice is also informed by the principles of Quality Improvement (QI) and I appreciate how important it is to reduce waste in a system/process as well as improve efficiency using the patient’s views (Voice of Customer). I use technology in communication, appointment scheduling, documentation and prescribing among other things. This helps avoid delays and reduces errors and risk. On a regular basis, I seek feedback to know what is going well but more importantly to understand where improvements can be made.
In the last 10 years, I have also had some painful moments. I believe that these experiences are also important to reflect upon. There have been times when I have experienced the intensity of the work and the psychological demand it can place on me. Some of the narratives I hear are heart breaking and disturbing and I therefore make it a point to practice self-care and self-compassion. Being part of supervision groups and accessing peer support is important for me. As part of my training, I was required to undergo personal therapy and this helped to understand my own self, something that I think is important when we are in the field of helping others. I appreciate our human limitations and sometimes even with the best will in the world, we do not get the desired results.
I have learnt so much and I look forward to the next 10 with the same degree of enthusiasm.