Jennifer's Personal Notes

Little Victories

I wish that all my readers could meet me personally, because I think sometimes you have given me more credit than I deserve.  Case in point, readers often think I exude confidence.  I don’t.  I have confidence in the data, in the facts, in the things I know that are true.  But to be confident in myself, that is another story.

It isn’t that I think I am incompetent. Instead it is because I have such high expectations of myself, I never meet them. Perhaps you have had the good fortune to meet a perfectionist?  Perhaps you are a perfectionist?

I am not sharing this because I need some group counseling.  Instead, I want to let you know that the end result is worth the work (and frustration and feeling like you’ll never be a good midwife), even if you are perfectionist.  See, some of my classmates have been eager to try each new thing and jump on every chance to do something new. I’m slower. I watch and and learn not only from technique but from the decision making.  I was concerned about being able to do a good PAP smear without causing discomfort, but I was also concerned about being able to determine what else needed to be done.  I never saw the clinical skills as separate from the clinical thinking. The thinking takes longer to learn, of course. So I was slow to feel comfortable with the skills.

But today at clinical there was a scheduling snafu that thrust me forward about five steps.  I had to step up and make the decisions myself.  The midwife was there, but not as easily accessible as she usually is. I didn’t have her to run to and give me “permission” to do what I thought I needed to do.  The result, fabulous confidence in my clinical skills and thinking.  I’ve come a long way in four months, and having to step out in a way I don’t normally allowed me to see that growth.  I even stayed on time for appointments, adding in one emergency visit and had the charting done before seeing the next client. Granted, we schedule in 30 minute blocks instead of 15 or 20, but I don’t have a nurse setting my clients up in the room.  I receive clients in the waiting area. I do the blood pressure, I do the weights.

I have to admit to a bit of relief that I feel so comfortable with the office visits now, because this semester I move on to births.  Luckily, years of doula and childbirth educator experience has given me a great head start on the clinical thinking needed for managing labor.  This semester should be a lot less stressful, and a lot more fun.

Jennifer Vanderlaan (Author)