There are few jobs in the world more difficult to gain a proficiency in than those in front line healthcare. Indeed the healthcare professions hold some of the highest dropout and burnout rates of all industries.
But it’s not just the potential for unsociable hours or long shifts that prematurely ends careers. Nor is it the knowledge that your friends in IT, finance and construction are on much better money for much less stress and pain.
It’s the emotional roller-coaster of assessments, patients, families, bullying co-workers, success, failure and the sometimes daily battle just to walk back into that room and feel like you should be there.
It’s being thrown into a world of inconsistent messages about how to perform and what you should be doing. Feeling powerless and having to quickly learn how to play work place politics when those who are supposed to help you and direct may be your biggest opponents.
It’s the hard realisation that instead of weeks or months, it takes years to become a good paramedic/ nurse/ doctor. It’s knowing that no matter how much you study, there is always more to learn, and a deeper level to get to. It’s wrapping your head around the fact that sometimes when you have a win the only person to pat you on the back will be you.
Since starting this job I have been stabbed in the back by colleagues, intentionally humiliated in-front of doctors, nurses and patients, lied to, lied about and had bogus reports written about my performance.
And I bet you have to.
But you have earned your place in that room. Every person working in that health service has been where you are.
The greatest warriors were once crawling babies; the greatest in medicine were once tiny interns.
You have given years of your life to study and beaten hundreds if not thousands of others to get to where you are today.
You deserve to be there.
You are incredibly smart. You’re probably getting pretty good at your job. You’re infinitely better than what you were when you started.
So don’t you dare throw it all away. Don’t you dare abandon and disappoint all of those people who have stood by and supported you. All of the amazing practitioners who have helped you learn, who have stepped in to bat for you when you needed it, who have walked you through those tough times. Because those people believed in you, and they want you to join them as one of the good guys in healthcare.
Yes you will make mistakes. Everybody does. But don’t let a few bad weeks, take away what you have spent years working on.
Build yourself a support network. Make friends. Work hard.
Even if it’s only to make it through each day, one day at a time.
You’ve got this.