So I’m now about 4 months into my first OT post after qualifying last year. I feel I’ve settled in well at work and I couldn’t wish for better people to work with however I’m still at the point where everyday feels like a challenge. Working in Medicine of the Elderly isn’t as straight forward as I imagined it to be; every case is different and most are complex. In a way it feels like doing a university assignment; you’re apprehensive about what you’re supposed to be doing, you gather all the information you think you’ll need, you’ll make a start and make changes along the way and all the while you constantly have to look for reassurance or any signs that you’re on the right track. Your adrenaline levels build up because you know your time is limited and you’re not sure if what you’ve done is what is expected of you. I recently learnt that it takes about 90 minutes for adrenaline levels to return to normal so by the time I’ve left work, travelled home and settled down to tea, I’m finally feeling back to my baseline. On hectic days I never feel fully relaxed because the anxiety is there that I know I’ll have to go through the same thing the next day. As many people have said; it’s like a roller-coaster ride. You’ll have your good and bad days. The littlest things can knock your confidence back and it seems you feel a lot more vulnerable when everything is new and you’ve not quite found your feet yet.
At the minute I seem to be in an experimental stage, finding out what works best for me to manage my caseload, working out the approach I want to take with my patients, to my colleagues and working out more about who I am and who I want to be. As many NQOTs in the BJOT articles have identified this job can change both your professional and personal identity. I’ve found some of my interests have changed and I’ve learnt to prioritise different hobbies/interests and took up new ones or rekindled old ones. Many have said it can take a year to be confident in this job role so I know I’ve still a long way to go.
I see it as making a jump. Let’s say cliff diving as an example. You stand at the top and look down knowing what you’re about to get yourself into so you’re apprehensive about doing it. You prepare to make the move by taking a few steps forward but then your anxiety takes you a few steps back. As you take the leap the air resistance pushes against you throwing everything it can from stopping you from reaching your goal. As you finally reach the water and resurface you erupt in triumph realising that you did it, you achieved what you set out to and you did a damn good job. I hope to reach this point but at the minute if I was to place myself in that context I would say I was still falling to reach my goal and I’m taking on new challenges everyday but I know I’ll get there, I’ve just got to be patient.
As I write this things have been going well. A week or so ago I had a bit of a set back but I feel I’ve found my feet again. Though I’m expecting something to knock my confidence again and take my back to square one. It all seems to be mind over matter though. If I don’t think I can do the job and have zero confidence in myself then I can’t do it but if I just have the confidence and go for it, I can.