Today (well, yesterday by now) I turned up to school early, had 20 minutes to just sit and think about my patients without the chatty babysitter interrupting my every thought, and decided to change my treatment plan for a patient who was really suffering. When that patient arrived, I managed for the first time to tune out the pressure of having both a babysitter and an assessor monitor my every move with pens poised. At the end of the treatment, the patient burst into tears of relief and gratitude when she sat up. This has never happened before and will probably never happen again, but it was pretty rewarding to know that despite all the red tape I’m still fundamentally good at my job.
I had an underclassman shadowing me for the rest of the afternoon, in addition to the floor tutor/assessor and the observer/babysitter. I am pretty damned confident that I resolved any outstanding concerns about my balance when I managed to treat my next two patients AND safely negotiate around five people and an ultrasound trolley in a room designed for one clinician and one patient. A new level of ridiculous, but a new level of competence and confidence too.
So, I have a lot to be grateful for this week. I know that the head of student services has my back, and is going to get me out of this ridiculous situation as delicately and quickly as possible. I know that I am still competent and confident despite the pressure of having to demonstrate this at all times. I know that I’m really pleased with myself for managing to tune out all the extra stressors and do a great job with one patient and a good job with the other two. I know that I’m doing everything I can to look after my body and cope with the situation I find myself in, and I’m delighted to still be mostly upright. I’m relieved that my good friends waited in the pub until I could join them for a pint and a good laugh about not risk assessing room capacity. And I’m exceptionally relieved that nothing happened while I had to negotiate power cords, three extra people, awkward questions from a panicked third year, and a minimum of three conversations at any one time. If I had fallen over it would have been entirely predictable but would have triggered another 45 meetings and risk assessments. As it is, I’m hoping it will weigh VERY heavily in my favour.