As a future IHP, it is important to be able to cope with stress and ensure that I do not burnout (Ross & Deverell, 2004:305). Along with a thorough understanding of what stress and burnout is, I will use a personal past experience to explain how I will develop stress-management strategies and implement them in my behaviour.
Stress and Burnout:
Stress is understood as the way in which a person responds to the demands, both physical and emotional, which have been placed on them. It is a reaction to change and stress can become more apparent when the requirements a situation are greater than your ability to cope. Stress is a subjective response. Not everyone will feel stressed, and experience ...view middle of the document...
After applying for a degree in medicine, I knew that universities considered these results and could therefore determine my future. I was stressed during this period as I felt pressured by my family, teachers and myself to excel. I worried that I would not achieve my best. During exams I had limited time to complete huge volumes of studying (Ross & Deverell, 2004:304). Finals were the one chance to prove myself academically and the fear of failure stood tall.
Effects on my thoughts, feelings and behaviours:
The time pressure during exams was a major source of stress which led to behavioural changes. I studied until late, got little sleep and consequently felt fatigued and emotionally drained. I had little time to spend with others and soon became detached and depersonalised. I missed out on the activities and relationships that made me, me. I thought that I had become less sensitive. I often felt irritable, especially towards my family. I experienced mood changes and started to fight with my parents and siblings. This made me feel sad and guilty (Ross & Deverell, 2004:304-305).
The pressure to excel made me feel overwhelmed. I felt apprehensive about my future as I knew that the results of the exams would directly influence the rest of my life. Because of these feelings, I found myself with sweaty palms and a racing heart. During exams I feared failure and my competitive nature made me feel inadequate and hopeless. I continuously thought about my potential and placed unrealistic demands on myself. I found that I used food as comfort to avoid stress. During exams I picked up poor eating habits and behaviours. I ate junk food and had no time to exercise. This made me think that I was losing control over my situation as it was so obviously affecting my life (Gibson, Swarts and Sandenbergh 2:107). I therefore felt vulnerable. My behaviours had to be adjusted and I found that saying a prayer before each exam helped to focus my mind
I have gained valuable knowledge concerning stress and have now extended deeper insight into its effect on my personal life and experiences. By understanding the causes and implications of stress and burnout, I feel that I am better equipped to treat patients who are experience these side effects and who are stressed about their treatment. I believe that I have gained valuable skills to reduce and manage stress (Olckers, Gibbs & Duncan 2007:3). As an IHP, I will be constantly faced with conflict involving fellow professionals and patients because of the need to make significant decisions. The resulting stress needs to be managed constructively so that healthy relationships are maintained which are valuable to my career (Gibson, Swarts and Sandenbergh 2:109).
In matric I learnt how important it is that you don’t let stress negatively affect your life such as causing depression and reduced concentration (Gibson, Swarts and Sandenbergh 2:106). I have learnt how stress can develop into burnout and the...