Coping with tragedy

10 years ago today, a friend lost his life in what could only be described as tragic circumstances.

Experiencing loss ourselves is markedly different to the compassion we feel for the loved ones of our patients, when we meet them on what is inevitably one of the worst days of their lives.

The practical side and distractions of  ‘making arrangements’ only lasts for a short time – the weeks, months and years ahead present the real challenge after experiencing profound loss.

In this presentation from SMACC Chicago, Rob Rogers talks about what he did (and what he wishes he did) to cope;

I think one of his points which I best relate to is that everything else can wait – you need to take time to process the change a tragedy brings, and regain your perspective after feeling overwhelmed.

The other thing I’d like you to consider is the nexus that presents when you experience tremendous pressure at work – it can easily overwhelm and isolate some of the people it touches, and although I’ve linked to this amazing talk by Tim Leeuwenburg before, perhaps you might like to take another look;


The take away from this is that we are great at giving others advice with dealing with grief, loss and stress – it’d be fantastic if we took some of our own advice – please don’t be too proud to ask for help if you are feeling burnt out.

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Empathy refreshment

I’ve never met a patient with a substance problem that says they’re happy to have it.

I’m not referring to the casual misadventure with recreational drugs or alcohol, but the patients we can recognise from a distance, or the acute-on-chronic presentation that needs our interventions.

If you were to spare a few minutes and read this wonderful post by Phil Berry, perhaps your next fatigued encounter won’t be quite as difficult;


Mental toughness – a backgrounder

“I could never do your job…” – this may have been said to you on more than one occasion, but have you thought about why that might be ?

Over the last couple of years I’ve been hearing more about performance psychology, stress inoculation and mental toughness as reasons that we can do what we do, and how we might be able to become even better at it.

This post by Mike Lauria is a comprehensive backgrounder (with links to even more resources) that’s well worth the 5 minutes it will take you to read;