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Day 1

Time has flown by and this is my third Medical Leadership Seminar. Unlike last year I knew what I was
expecting and ths it was mch less stressfl for me so I cold get more ot of it.
I am !ite happy with my grop. "e seem to ha#e clicked together right from the start and together with
a helpfl and nderstanding ttor$ I%m sre I%m going to learn a lot while still en&oying myself.
The first exercise we had led to me getting sefl insights abot myself. 'resenting myself to any kind of
adience is always !ite stressfl for me becase being pt nder the spotlight makes me feel exposed
howe#er it%s a nice way of getting others to know yo and #ice(#ersa. That said$ it was an eye(opener in
the sense that sometimes how yo want to be seen by others and how yo are actally seen by others
aren%t necessarily one and the same thing.
The )ohari window pro#ided !ite some food for thoght. I realised that most of the things I had said
abot myself fitted into the part delineated as %My 'blic Self%. I wasn%t really srprised abot that
considering that I ha#e been part of the grop for only a cople of hors and so I don%t think I wold ha#e
been comfortable sharing something deeper than that. *owe#er relating it with day to day sitations in
my life$ it is what I present to a lot of people I meet and there definitely is so mch more to me than that.
This is why it is so necessary$ I belie#e$ to in#est time to get to know people properly before &dging.
+#en so$ there are things in myself that e#en those closest to me won%t e#er get to know. ,y natre I am a
#ery pri#ate person and it takes me a #ery long time to trst someone and share almost e#erything that%s
going throgh my head. This is probably a sr#i#al mechanism I adopted after ha#ing been bllied when I
was yonger.
-nother thing which made me think !ite a lot was the area labeled as %My ,lind Spots%. I think that as
hmans$ all of s mst ha#e some of these and I belie#e that thinking yo don%t ha#e any might actally
be a blind spot in itself becase in the end it might hinder yo from being open to change. I belie#e that as
a person$ I will contine to de#elop ntil the day I die. ,eing pt in different sitations$ I will become
aware of some blind spots and form new ones. That is why$ I think it is !ite healthy to be open to others%
criticisms as long as it%s coming from the right people. "e%re hman and sometimes we do tend to gloss
o#er or romanticise some aspects of orsel#es which might be actally !ite annoying and irritating for
others. -lso other people will see some things in a different perspecti#e than yors and so might be able
to gi#e yo a new angle to what yo thoght yo knew abot yorself.
- realisation I came to was that e#en thogh many of s come from di#erse backgronds$ cltres and
beliefs$ there were some common denominators when it came to what is most important to s$ especially
family as a bastion of help and spport in times of need.
In the exercises where we were asked how comfortable we felt at the moment$ e#eryone graded
themsel#es pretty highly. 'ersonally$ I ga#e myself a . ot of / and I sat in the chair bt with my legs not
completely in the circle. I did this becase e#en thogh I am !ite comfortable with the grop$ it will
always take me some time to settle down completely. The better I%ll get to know the rest of the grop the
easier it will be for me to share. -lso$ the prpose of this seminar is to pro#ide s with an opportnity for
self(de#elopment and so I wanted to allow for that.
That said$ there already is a sense of cohesion in or grop and e#eryone seems to be willing to work
together to make the best of this seminar. -fter all e#en thogh it is meant to be abot orsel#es$ who and
what we are will ha#e a great bearing on how we will relate to others.
Day 0
Today$ as sal$ was the most action(packed day of the seminar. 1irst off$ we had a talk done by two
doctors$ a nmber of exercises within the small grop and also the grop presentation regarding dealing
with stress and brn ot.
The talk was #ery insightfl. "hat helped was that both doctors were #ery honest and forthright with
their experiences and they didn%t try to shelter s from the conse!ences we may face being in sch a
continosly high stress &ob as medicine. They also ga#e s #ery sefl tips regarding how to cope with
some sitations life as a medic may throw at yo. *owe#er$ they made me reflect a lot. 2ne thing which
seemed to come ot from their experiences was that if yo%re not carefl$ medicine might end p taking
o#er most of yor life$ with detrimental effect on yo and those arond yo and that it is absoltely #ital
to find strategies to a#oid being completely o#erwhelmed. -fter all$ a tired$ angry$ grmpy doctor is more
likely to make bad decisions with serios$ possibly life(altering conse!ences for the patients.
+#en thogh I was conscios right from the start that medicine is not an extremely cshy career$ I do want
to ha#e a healthy balance between my career and the rest of my life. I want there to be more to me than
&st the doctor aspect. +#en thogh I was and still am willing to sacrifice a lot in order to achie#e my
dream goal$ inclding ha#ing stopped going to piano lessons e#en I ha#e gradated twice with honors in
msic$ there are some things I will not compromise. This especially incldes my family$ both the one I
ha#e now$ and later on if I decide to get married and ha#e children.
Dring the feedback session$ a point which came p and which I agree with wholeheartedly is the fact
that we shold ha#e a female speaker as well. This is becase we will face different challenges since
society$ e#en in the twenty first centry still places certain expectations on women. -lthogh enormos
progress has been made regarding female emanicipation it is interesting to note that women still earn less
than men e#en when they%re working in the same specialties according to se#eral stdies. Some cha#inist
#iews like women not being good to become srgeons ha#e changed only in the last few decades.
I also belie#e that e#en thogh this may sond ob#ios$ there has to be emphasis on the fact that in
hoseholds where both parts are flly employed$ things like cleaning$ washing$ landry etc ha#e to be
split betwen the cople. It%s not fair that the hsband plops down in front of the tele#ision while the wife
has to cook$ clean and check the children%s homework. It may sond o#erstereotypic$ bt the reality still
exists. Therefore we as women ha#e to cope with different challenges and stresses sometimes and
therefore ha#ing a female point of #iew is !ite reassring.
"hen we had the #ales exercise$ and the inter#iews$ I was made aware of how different we cold be
from each other. +#eryone had different moti#es for entering medicine howe#er it emerged that all of s
in some way or another ha#e a genine desire to help others$ e#en thogh some also are attracted to the
stats$ prestige and renmeration associated with sch a career. 'ersonally$ I don%t think they are bad
reasons as long as for example money isn%t the only thing yo want to be in medicine for. -part from that
it is also #ital for me that if faced with a choice between what is right and what is easy$ moti#es sch as
stats don%t get in the way.
"hat was good abot this exercise was that a lot of s shared what we generally consider as !ite
personal experiences althogh this in the end helped s get to know each other better and it also enabled
s to present orsel#es from or own perspecti#e. -nother thing which strck a chord with me was how
mch the person I inter#iewed went throgh before he decided that medicine was the corse for him. I
always admire resilience and sticking to yor gns e#en when e#erything seems to point in the opposite
direction. -part from that$ I cold relate to him becase I went throgh a similar experience e#en thogh
things weren%t as bad for me. Medicine wasn%t an ob#ios choice from the start. I wish I cold say that I
always sed to rn arond the hose pretending to cre all the ailments$ imaginary or otherwise$ my
family had. In my case$ I wasn%t e#en sre that sciences were the right choice for me especially since in
secondary school I sed to get practically the same grade in e#ery sb&ect and in sixth form$ I sed to
barely pass my 3hemistry exams and get extremely high marks in +nglish and 'hilosophy. I finally
realised that what I was going throgh was worth it when we had a careers% talk in )anary before I did
my - le#els.
I remember being bored senseless by most of the speakers e#en thogh they were wearing their best sits
and had colorfl powerpoint presentations to explain why we shold choose their corse. The last
speaker howe#er$ came late$ looked like he had walked ot of a gale and had nothing to illstrate his point
except for his speaking abilities. *owe#er as soon as he opened his moth$ all of s were #ery intriged
by what he had to say becase he sonded like he had a real passion for his &ob. Inspired by how happy he
was becase he was doing something he lo#ed$ I methodically went throgh all the programme of stdies
of the corses I cold potentially choose$ asking myself whether I geninely belie#ed I wold be happy in
sch a profession an why this is so. I finally came to choose between medicine$ and ,sc. in ,iology and
3hemistry since research had always been something which I was deeply attracted to. I e#entally chose
medicine becase I lo#e working hands on with people.
I also chose medicine becase I lo#e helping others and becase I belie#e that throgh medicine I can
help make the world a better place e#en if it is one person at a time. *a#ing been a patient and ha#ing had
relati#es who were patients$ I see the difference between nhelpfl doctors too absorbed in themsel#es$
who weren%t compassionate$ who didn%t explain anything to s and doctors who trly cared abot their
patients. This helped me come to the realisation that althogh I might ha#e my own isses and stress de
to the sheer amont of work I will be faced with$ the patient mst always come first$ and that I mst
contine to be empathetic and compassionate e#en if he4she is being stbborn$ nreasonable or insolent.
This is mch more easily said than done$ bt hopeflly being aware from beforehand$ I might be able to
pre#ent myself from reacting badly to sch ad#erse sitations. 5e#ertheless I am aware that I am hman$
I will make mistakes$ and that the most important thing is to own p and be honest. This was also !ite
e#ident in the role(plays we did were we contrasted the different beha#iors of the physicians.
-n acti#ity which trned ot to be a #ery nice experience was the grop presentation. I was ama6ed by
what my grop managed to do in an hor and this was de to the fact that there was extremely good
teamwork and cooperation. +#eryone had a different role bt I don%t belie#e it wold ha#e all come
together were it not for s being able to exploit or different abilities to the fll. 'ersonally working
against a time(limit with limited resorces was !ite a stressfl experience bt in the end I en&oyed it. I
am not afraid of pblic speaking bt presenting something at sch short notice was also difficlt bt
thankflly the adience was !ite helpfl and positi#ely responsi#e. "hat helped me deal with sch a
sitation was that instead of worrying nnecessarily and wasting precios time$ we immediately got down
to bsiness and focsed on the task at hand
Throghot the day I learned !ite a lot abot myself and myself in relation to others. This has helped me
identify a nmber of points in myself where impro#ement might be beneficial$ howe#er it also made me
realise that I ha#e positi#e characteristics.
Day .
Today was the last day of the seminar. I think it was a #ery sefl experience and that I %m sre that it will
help me in my holistic de#elopment. -part from that$ since we were sch a close grop I also had fn in
the acti#ities and it was also relati#ely easy to share things with the grop.
2ne topic which came p today was stressors and how we deal with them. 1or me at this point in time a
ma&or stressor is exams. I ha#e worked #ery hard to be where I am today and the fear that I might be
chcked ot of the corse is a big sorce of anxiety. ,y natre$ I am a bit of a constant worrier becase
sometimes I am too mch of a perfectionist. It%s #ital to be extremely precise in or line of work becase
it may cost a life bt when things don%t go the way yo expect sometimes it%s seless to be pset. It is
mord important to sit back$ analyse what went wrong and work on fixing the problem. This is something I
am working on to impro#e.
I was also reassred by the fact that it%s not &st me who feels that sometimes I feel like all the weight of
the world is on my sholders. To know that medicine is togh for e#eryone at least helps yo nderstand
that yo are not in a bad place. Something which intriged me was by how differently we handle exams. I
sed to be a crammer bt then I changed completely nd I try to do a little bite#ery day. This has helped
me a lot becase I panic a lot before exams and I find it #ery difficlt to concentrate the day before the
exams. *owe#er$ I need to work more on dealing with my physical manifestations of stress especially
since I sffer from se#ere acid reflx$ which makes me lose my appetite and conse!ently lose a lot of
weight in a short space of time. - healthy body makes for a healthy mind. Therefore I need to find ways
and means to relax and think positi#ely.
-nother interesting exercise we had was to match the thinking processes with the pictres. I mst say it
did bring ot my competiti#e streak becase I really hate losing and e#en more so being dissed abot it. I
also realised that sometimes I fall in some of the categories especially the one abot negati#e feelings and
being easily frstrated. "hat I need to do is to keep my eyes on the pri6e. -fter all many people ha#e
made it before me and if I keep myself focsed and work hard I can make it too. -nother thing I do
especislly to deal with my frstration is to be tenacios and if I see that one method in%t working I change
my approach. 1or example if I reali6e that by reading the paragraph o#er and o#er again I am still not
getting a concept$ I try to watch an animation of it$ or to look at a diagram.
I also belie#e in constant breaks. I cannot stdy for long hors at a stretch. Instead$ I do an hor and stop
for fifteen mintes. The key here is to be strict with yorself. In fact I time myself with my phone. Sch
self(discipline will ser#e me well in other aspects of life.
That exercise and the one when we had to identify two sitations and how we react to them ax oppose to
how it wold be best to react to them$ tied nicely with the emotions charades game we playe the day
before. 1irst and foremost$ it%s not always easy to realise what people are going throgh. +#en we$ who
were o#erdramati6ing the emotion in#ol#ed also coldn%t always easily gess and be correct. This is
important to relate to the clinical setting becase patient won%t care abot other patients% problems yo
might be worried abot bt abot their problems and also as a doctor$ I csnnot transfer my feelings on the
patient. I cannot let the fact that prior to the consltation I had someone die on me affect the way I
interact with who%s infront of me$ no matter how de#astating it may be for me.
The last acti#ity we had was to write comments abot each other. It was a nice experience especially
when the person doesn%t stay on the sperficial and write something deeper than that becase it means that
he has been listening to yo. I think it helped end the seminar on a high note. I id my best to write
something personalised when it came to writing the others% comments and I wasalso happy that they
I really en&oyed this seminar becase it helped me reflect a lot abot myself and recognise specific areas
and patterns of thinking which by impro#ing them will help me become a better person and ltimately a
better doctor. I also en&oyed working with the grop especially getting to know different sides of them. I
am sre this will help me towards ha#ing a flfilling career.