So I’ve just finished my first clinical placement of my course, and I have to say that… it was an eye-opener that I need to develop my interpersonal skills much more than my technical skills. It has caused me a great sadness to hear that I did not perform satisfactorily during my placement, and it’s mainly the reason why I’m writing this.
But before I go too in depth with what I want to discuss, let me bring you up to speed with what clinical placement is.
Clinical placement is basically learning as a student in a professional environment or work-integrated learning. The idea is that you go to a hospital’s medical imaging department (or a private medical imaging clinic) and you learn on the job, despite being a student with limited knowledge. It’s a great way for people to learn the principles and techniques of the job in a hands-on fashion, and to develop professionalism in a medical setting.
So…back to what I was saying.
I have always felt like clinical placement was more of a test of my knowledge rather than a learning opportunity. Hence why I did so poorly and why I failed to achieve a satisfactory mark for my overall performance.
I would always feel like I shouldn’t do anything I haven’t learned in textbooks, which made me anxious about performing any examinations. With more difficult patients, I would frequently look for my supervisor to do the more complicated parts of the examination. I would often walk away from the action in fear of getting in the way, or from taking too long and making the patient upset.
This lead to the inability to take my missing knowledge as learning opportunities, which made me feel that berating myself was the only appropriate response. instances were These always within earshot of the patient, which only them in less ease. Not only that, but in order to move on from the situation of self-berating, I would sing or hum, which is unprofessional in of itself. And so all those things combined is essentially why I have a lack of professionalism. I have to say, though, I noticed but I didn’t think it would be that terrible.
Now…when my Clinical Educators at the hospital took me in for the final interview, they told me these very things, and that these were the reasons why I did not achieve a satisfactory performance mark. I was crying when they told me… not because they were unjustified, or that they put it so harshly. I cried because I didn’t catch on to the expectations of my supervisors, and I was unable to improve my flaws quickly enough even when I was told multiple times. I simply wasn’t good enough to put measures in to control myself, nor did I have the focus or presence of mind to even think that something was wrong. I was so absorbed in the technical things that the interpersonal things just fell through the holes in the floor I walked upon. And even if I did make some progress, I didn’t have any plan to maintain it.
After I explained to them how introverted I tend to be, they understood that I was very self-aware of my flaws. They saw that I could one day be the radiographer that they sought in me. But the three of us knew that it would not come instantaneously. It wouldn’t come to me overnight, but rather over a much longer period of time. And it would take lots of practice and conscious effort to correct and secure these necessary changes to find “Professional Tin”.
It still shocks me that I cried in all that. I honestly thought that the criticism was fair and justified. I truly do. So I don’t understand why it hurt as much as it did. Maybe it’s because I thought that failing clinical placement would fail one of my subjects? It’s very possible. I will have a debriefing with my lecturer and the Work Integrated Learning coordinator of my university sometime in the future. Despite my normal pessimism and anxiety, there may be a way to redeem my marks. It all depends on the meeting, of course. But I’d rather be reserved with my judgment than being optimistic or pessimistic.
Regardless, my plan of attack is this: be more social, socialize in professional environments, have more self-control, and find other de-stressors which are more professionally acceptable. Easier said than done, but I know I can do it if I have reminders daily… ones I cannot avoid. I need to jump at the opportunities, but I know there will be reluctance.
Seize the day to study life and death… physiology and pathology.