Tuesday, August 11, 2009
True to this blog's title, I have a confession to make. Somewhere along the way, I have lost my self-confidence. This might be due to the stress of my job or just burn-out. It snuck up on me out of nowhere. Who ever sees burn out coming? And who ever knows how they will be affected? I've realized that lately I am more irritated with people when they tell me it takes a special person to work in hospice or that they could never do my job. I don't feel special. Right now, I feel like anyone could do my job. How hard is it to listen to someone? I listen to life stories, I listen to people talk about how they are coping, I listen to the unfinished business. I advise where applicable. But mostly I listen. Anyone can do that. I realize I'm being irrational as I write this. I know not everyone wants to think about death and grief when they go to work. (Although, I'm not convinced I want to think about it either- I just happen to be skilled in helping others cope with end-of-life issues.) I know that I have above average listening skills; I credit my mom on this one, thanks to her "conversation is like throwing a ball back and forth" speech. I have cards that speak of how I personally have helped families through the hospice journey. I have families on my caseload right now that are dependent on my visit. In fact, one week I wasn't able to see a patient due to a conflict and when I met with his wife the next week, she confided that she'd had to work really hard to get through the week without my visit. So I know on some level that I am making a difference. I just don't feel it right now. The on-call schedule has become more and more demanding. There is more of a blur between my professional and personal lives. And it's taking a toll. I have a vacation lined up in less than a month, which will help. I'm trying to figure out if I can group the on-call in different ways so I'm not on-call at some point every week. I'm trying to figure out better ways to take care of myself. And I'm trying to figure out how my self-confidence crept out of my life like a thief in the night so I can make sure it never happens again.