While Covid-19 seems to be the gift that keeps on giving, the world’s health care providers have been grasping the fact more than ever, that being alert and creative in your thinking and growth in times of rapid and uncertain change is essential. We already knew before the start of this massive pandemic and unprecedented pressures on healthcare systems, that professional development is a key factor in the development of coping skills to support rapid change and/ or growth if and when it occurs. You know from a professional perspective that continuing skill development needs to come back into your life. Instead of working harder, you need to work smarter. So, what’s stopping you?
Personal Professional Development Challenges
Working in a critical mode for the past two years has had the same effect on healthcare providers as a chronic disease would on any of your patients. It’s been exhausting mentally, physically, and emotionally. Changes have had to be accepted hastily to accommodate the demands of less-than-acceptable staffing levels and increased mindfulness about infection prevention and control. Not the least of these difficulties is perhaps the misunderstanding of others who may not appreciate just how intense the last two years have been for healthcare professionals. It’s not surprising then, that, as the critical needs of the pandemic settle into a “new normal”, your enthusiasm to improve and/ or change your practice might be somewhat faded.
Let’s go back to our chronic disease analogy. When a patient is diagnosed with a chronic disease we, as healthcare professionals swoop in with education and customized therapies to help the patient embrace the changes they must make in their lives and reach successful outcomes, not the least of which might be their survival.
Now compare this to how you are feeling about your career in healthcare. Are you languishing in a pandemic “just-get-me -through-the-day” mode or do you feel like it’s time to whip out the jump-start cables and give yourself a boost to get your mojo back, but you don’t know how or where to start? We could exchange “patient education” here for professional development: learning just how to work smarter, not harder, or even looking for a change of specialty.
Putting Up Barriers
As a species, human beings generally don’t embrace change and there is a common tendency to put up barriers. Some patients really struggle, especially if they’re ill and/or feel worn down by the disease already but many do eventually rise to the challenge with professional healthcare encouragement and support. In this instance of finding the motivation to get back into professional development there could be a couple of barriers stopping you from moving forward:
The first barrier could simply be that we are out of practice signing up for courses that pique our interest and will change or improve practice. Pre-pandemic there was a lively culture of continuous learning to promote population health and safety and give nurses the ability to cope with care provider variables. Development courses included both clinical and non-clinical adjuvant skill expansion that is valuable in the clinical setting. There has since been a 2-year hiatus and the continuity of professional development has been disrupted.
We previously mentioned the word “languishing”. Does this word bring to mind being draped on a chaise longue while being fanned with ostrich feathers and fed exotic fruit? How does this word even begin to apply to mood and motivation for professional development? When it comes to mood and motivation, we could define languishing as feeling “blah!” It isn’t burnout, — you still have energy (although we must accept that there are healthcare providers who may be truly burned out). It isn’t depression — you don’t feel hopeless. You just feel somewhat joyless or aimless and you aren’t thriving. This is languishing: a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as though you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2022. So, you aren’t alone, particularly in the field of healthcare.
In order to overcome these hurdles of motivation deprivation and a languishing mood, you must make the decision to do something ….. and then do it! The pandemic was a big loss. To outdo languishing, try starting with small gains. If you focus on one small goal such as taking a short professional development course, it may give you a sense of accomplishment and be a challenge that stretches your skills and heightens your resolve. Courses can be as short as 24 hours of contact time or less, with 3 months to complete, and virtual so you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home. Healthcare organizations have continued to provide reimbursements and bursaries to cover a percentage of costs.
Doing this means carving out daily or weekly time to focus on a challenge that matters to you, but it might be that small step you need toward rediscovering some of the energy and enthusiasm that you’ve missed during all these months.
Are you ready to start your journey today? Check out our courses.