Going Back To Work

The following is a social media post from August 14, 2021.

I’m heading back to work tonight as an emergency medicine physician after 3 weeks of vacation. It wasn’t the vacation I had hoped for (we were supposed to be on safari in South Africa), but it was the vacation I needed.

I’m going to be honest, though. I’m nervous about going back to work tonight. On my last shift, there was only 1 Covid patient overnight. I know tonight will be different. I’ve been struggling with feelings of anger and resentment toward people who still won’t get vaccinated even in the face of what is currently happening across the country. I’m scared that, despite all of our sacrifices over the past year, my worst fear is about to come true and I’m not going to be able to provide the kind of care that I want to all of my patients due to the large influx of sick unvaccinated Covid patients. I’m also feeling profound disappointment and grief as I mask up again and watch as one of the most incredible scientific achievements of my life will likely fail to achieve its goal due to distrust and misinformation.

That said, I’m also putting in a lot of work on these thoughts through self-coaching. One of the most valuable lessons I learned from coaching was that I can’t control the behavior of other adults and, when I attach my emotional health to other people’s actions and decisions, I only create an impossible situation for myself. I don’t want to feel anger and resentment tonight on my shift. I will hold space for my disappointment and nervousness, but I will show up for my patients tonight with love and compassion. I will show up in a way that fills me with pride in the care I can provide with whatever resources I have. I will do this because I know that a shift filled with love, compassion, and pride feels so much better than a shift filled with anger and resentment. I don’t have control over my circumstances here, but I do have control over how I react to them and the emotional experience that creates for myself.

If you’re struggling with this right now too, I’m here for you.

UPDATE: Yes, I headed back to work and I’ve had some of my most rewarding shifts ever.  They’ve been busy.  I’ve seen many patients with Covid and, as I write this, all of them have been unvaccinated.  The gift I’ve given myself, however, is the gift of feeling compassion and love for these patients.  It has softened my approach when I take care of them, and, therefore, I truly believe that I’ve been able to have several meaningful conversations about vaccination with my patients and staff.  Even if I don’t change anyone’s mind, I have created a much more enjoyable experience for myself on shift and sometimes that’s the most important thing.

I know that coaching can help with this because I would not be where I am right now emotionally without the many hours of coaching that I’ve had.  I know that the skills that I’ve learned through coaching have made this possible for me.  I know that I will feel better tonight because of this work.  If you’d like to know more, be sure to sign up for my free training or, better yet, join me for the Unicorn Life Coaching Program.