How to cope with Anxiety as a Healthcare professional

My anxiety was always a worry of mine when I decided to embark on my Midwifery journey (yes, I’m aware of the irony!). I genuinely worried that I wouldn’t be “allowed” on to the course, that I wouldn’t be deemed fit to practice because of it, but I was.

In this current day in age, it was inevitable that my anxiety was going to be something I faced at work – whether it be the pressure/stress that the NHS is facing as a whole, or an emergency situation within practice. It was going to happen.

Now, by some miracle, up to this point I have managed to contain the anxiety internally (for the most part) – I have received criticism from mentors because unfortunately I cannot control the external effects i.e. shaky hands, clumsiness, rising heart and breath rate, I’ve even at times experienced blurred vision when looking for an important piece of paperwork for the doctors. However, it is a bloody amazing achievement that I haven’t just crumbled into a mess on the floor or experienced extreme hyperventilation like I would normally in a panic attack.

I don’t know whether this is because up until now I have been able to hide behind student status and my student uniform, with an experienced Midwife by my side at all times, or if it’s because I know I have a responsibility to provide safe timely care to ensure the health of both mother and baby – just get them stable Lauren and then you can have your breakdown!! (Along with your long overdue wee and a cup of tea)

So here are my top tips for attempting to control anxiety as a healthcare professional (specifically in an emergency situation):

  1. As soon as I get to work, I’m analysing the board, getting familiar and mentally preparing myself for the situations that I could be faced with that day. And then once I have been allocated the patient/patients I am going to be caring for I start mentally making a plan of care. Finally, once I have taken over the care, I do all of my initial tasks, gather any important information I need, and then I document everything including my plan of care. It’s written down, in black ink, I can’t forget anything!
  2. Any time something happens which alters the plan of care, it is documented, and a new plan of care is written. Documentation is SO important in maternity because things can change so quickly and emergencies are time-critical of course.
  3. Like you are taught when you are learning to drive, you need to be aware of everything, all of your surroundings. So frequent reviews need to be made in order to stay in control of the situation.
  4. Having taken up yoga and meditation recently, the best way for me to try to control anxiety is doing my breathing. I take long, slow, deep breaths, and try to relax every muscle as I exhale. However, if things change very quickly then this step may be skipped altogether!
  5. The BIGGEST saving grace for me and my anxiety when an emergency situation arises is that, in Midwifery, there is always a support network! When that emergency bell goes off, the whole world and his wife will be in the room within 10-20 seconds (obviously I mean doctors and midwives – useful people!) Everyone knows their role in each emergency situation and they just fall right into place and get on with it!
  6. DEBRIEFΒ – I have to talk it out! I discuss with senior colleagues what has happened and make sense of the situation. This helps me to understand and also allows me to gain any feedback. I have often been praised for “holding it together” and acting quickly, when actually inside I was falling apart! So it’s reassuring to know that my anxiety doesn’t come across to my colleagues or the women in my care. It also means I can go home confident in the decisions I made that day and not let the anxiety continue all through the night!

As a Midwife, the women in my care trust me to look after them and their babies, and to bring their babies into the world safely. And my colleagues trust me to deliver safe care as an autonomous practitioner. I intend to maintain that trust and it’s important to me to not let anxiety take my passion away from me.

Did you enjoy this post? Would you like to see more content about my job? Let me know in the comments.

Love Loz x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November plans

With November being my first full month of blogging, it felt wise to make a plan (forever pretending I’m wise! I’m not – see examples below) and in typical Lauren style, I could not have picked a worse month to try to get my blog off the ground. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal, a couple of examples include:

  • In sixth form, I switched colleges between AS level and A level, and in my new college they didn’t run one of my courses, so I decided to take a new A level but not wanting to stay at college for an extra year I decided I was going to study AS and A level of the course alongside each other (safe to say I hated that course and to this day I have not used a single element of it within my life).
  • I got engaged, planned my dream wedding and got married all within my final 2 years of studying/training full-time for my Midwifery degree. I also had a job alongside this where I worked anything from 12-60 hours a week – I somehow still managed to graduate with a 2:1.

The idea of now only having ONE job and ONE commitment really excited me! But could I deal with all that spare time? Hell no! It was inevitable that I was going to start a new project…so here I am (lucky you!)

Moving on to the point of this post….my November goals…

1. REACH 500+ FOLLOWERSΒ 

I’m going to work on building my follower community on Twitter, Instagram, and on my blog itself. I would like to reach 500 followers on Twitter, 200 followers on Instagram, and 30 followers on my blog!

2. POST AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK

I am going to aim to post at least once a week. I hope to post more than this, however, it’s going to be a rather busy month workwise so I’m just going to take this one day by day!

3. BLOGMAS

HOLIDAYS ARE COMING!! I am SO freakin’ excited! I love everything to do with Christmas, I get such a warm fuzzy feeling inside which builds as we get closer and closer to the big day. It’s going to be such an anti-climax for me this year as I am working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (Boooo!) but I am not letting that kill my buzz. Being the Christmas elf that I am, naturally I got super excited when I heard about this Christmas themed blogging craze. So I am going to be spending this month planning my “Blogmas” posts, and try to be organised (pfft!)

4. SURVIVE MY FIRST MONTH AS A REGISTERED MIDWIFE

I recently qualified as a Midwife, and on Monday I am starting my first job – at a whole different trust to where I’ve spent the past 3 years training! I am super anxious but excited as well. Having had the last 6 weeks off, I am starting to go stir crazy at home and am now itching to get back to work, but that’s 6 weeks I’ve had off from the long hours, night shifts, commuting, emergency drills, documentation….it’s the longest amount of time I’ve had off in the 3 years and at this point I feel as though I’ve forgotten everything (I haven’t! Don’t worry). So this month I’m hoping to settle in to my new team, my new role, and survive the intense induction/orientation period, and my first night shifts in 6 weeks…

5. SUBSCRIBE TO 10 MORE BLOGS

I have spent the last 48 hours addicted to Twitter, Instagram and Bloglovin’…reading blogs and blog posts of more experienced bloggers. I have followed some of my favourites and subscribed to some mailing lists. I’m looking to continue expanding my “reading list”, so I aim to subscribe to another 10 blogs this month. If you would like me to subscribe to your blog, please leave a link in the comments and I will check it out!

 

I’m hoping that posting my goals will keep me accountable to achieving them. If any more experienced bloggers have any feedback or suggestions for me based on my posts so far, please feel free to comment below or contact me via social media or my E-Mail.

Love Loz x