Current Role British doctor working in South Africa. F3
Foundation Training Trust Liverpool
Where are you from? Born in New Zealand and raised in Portsmouth on the south coast of England.
Background prior to medicine School, college and then studied Medicine as an undergraduate at Liverpool University.
Did you experience any work or wellbeing difficulties during F1/F2? The usual stresses and strains of working in a city centre hospital. Main issues were; leaving on time, work load management, emotional stress of job and switching off and getting a good nights sleep.
Tell us about your work/life balance? Challenging to make time for everything outside of work. Remaining enthusiastic and energetic after a long day is tough. Mental discipline and reminding yourself of passions outside of work has proved vital.
How do you look after your own wellbeing? Activity, socialising, sleep, mindfulness, yoga. All of these facets of life are most enjoyed when present and using some basic mindfulness techniques not just limited to meditation has been important.
What do you do for fun? Trail running; Highlights include Moel Famau Excalibur marathon, Glen Coe Skyrace in Scotland and the Scafell Pike Marathon in The Lake District. Climbing: Highlights include climbing in most of Britains national parks, Squamish in Canada and Yosemite in USA. Surfing; Highlights include cold water surfing all over UK and Ireland, Indonesia, South Africa, Australia and Chile.
(Phil Tugwell Photography)
How did you come across mindfulness? Came across mindfulness approaching it from a performance related angle. I wanted to better control my mind when fearful e.g. climbing hard routes or surfing bigger waves. I had some freediving experience which involves holding your breath and the ‘work up’ to a dive I found very relaxing. This was my first experience of being ’mindful’. I explored the field with podcasts and realised that being mindful or at least trying to be mindful did not just need to be limited to rugged environments and could transcend daily life.
What does being a ‘mindful doctor’ mean to you? To me this is about being totally focused on the task at hand without unnecessary background noise. Speaking to patients and families about life changing issues is enough to bring any doctor into the present, however it’s the other 95% of the working day where the challenge is greater. Being mindful allows the more mundane tasks to be approached with greater efficiency and clinical history taking to be more thorough and empathetic.
Has the RLH Pilot Mindfulness course had any lasting impact? Yes. At times of high stress I was able to refocus and calm down. Making the most of any available downtime. E.g standing in lifts, walking between wards became an opportunity to reset. By being more focused and ‘in the moment’ I was able to greater focus on the patient in front of me which not only improved the experience for myself and my patients but allowed me to go home on time because I was quicker!
What piece of essential reading/listening/viewing do you recommend for your colleagues that has helped or inspired you? Michael Gervais podcast is very good. ‘Finding Mastery’. Ekhart Tolle has good youtube videos.
https://findingmastery.net/ (Or find on any Podcast platform)