A deeply personal experience of post-traumatic growth: “Just a GP” Podcast

A few days ago, I was lucky enough to sit down, “virtually”, with three passionate and innovative doctors (Ashlea Broomfield, Charlotte Hespe and Rebekah Hoffman) as a guest on their fabulous new podcast “Just a GP”.

They asked me on the show to talk about how personal tragedy has affected me – as a doctor and in other aspects of my life.  It is a heavy topic; a topic society doesn’t much talk about.  I felt privileged to have the opportunity to address it, difficult as it was to speak about.

I spoke about post-traumatic growth – the idea that positive psychological change can occur as a result of adversity.  This is different to resilience, which is about how quickly and completely you “bounce back”. The difference between resilience and thriving is the recovery point – thriving goes above and beyond resilience, and involves benefiting from challenges. It is about finding meaning in the seemingly meaningless.

Post-traumatic growth should not be thought of as “getting over” grief.  You don’t get over grief – you absorb, adjust and accept it. You find a new normal, changed forever.

Not everyone is a fan of “post-traumatic growth” as a concept. Some believe it to be “motivated positive illusion” whose purpose is to protect us from the possibility that we may have been damaged.  If I’m happy and at peace just because I’m deluded, I honestly don’t mind – it works for me. 🙂

Whether you believe that people can become psychologically stronger after adversity or not, I do hope you enjoy the podcast, and that the tips I give about supporting others who are grieving will be of use.

You can’t go back in time and make all the bits of your life pretty, but you can move forward and make the whole picture beautiful.

Also available via the usual podcatchers.

 

 

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“I’m more like herpes than Ebola” – spreading the message about driving fitness

Assessing to Drive teaching Sydney June 2017

Since my partner was hit and killed in 2015 by an unfit elderly driver, I’ve been on a mission to increase awareness of the importance of fitness to drive assessments by health professionals.

My YouTube video on assessing fitness to drive has not exactly gone viral but it does have almost 6000 views, steadily building over time, being passed from one person to another.  Actually, it has gone “viral” in that respect , but more like herpes than Ebola! And like herpes, I hope the message sticks with those who watch it, quietly sitting in the background and then making its presence known now and then, such as when they have to do a driving assessment on an elderly driver.   I’m not sure that the phrase “I’d rather be herpes than Ebola” will ever take off, but it works for me.

I’m very grateful for the opportunities afforded to me to speak in person at educational sessions, especially sessions run by GP regional training organisations including GP Synergy, EV GP Training, Murray City Country Coast GP Training and Generalist Medical Training.

I was particularly delighted to be a recent guest on the wonderful GP Show podcast with Sam Manger, on which I shared practical tips for GPs on how to approach driving fitness. I hope you will check it out….

http://thegpshow.libsyn.com/assessing-fitness-to-drive-with-dr-genevieve-yates-gp

Nothing can bring the love of my life back. But if sharing our story indirectly results in one fewer person being injured by an unfit driver, at least some good has come out of this senseless tragedy.

Dr Viktor  Frankl an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust, expoused the importance of finding meaning in terrible circumstances. He said “In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.”

Much as putting our story out there has been hard, knowing that it could possibly save someone else’s loved one has made it worthwhile.  And I’m so grateful to the many doctors who have told me that it has changed the way they approach fitness to drive assessments.

Remember, driving is a privilege, not a right.

IMReasoning – a brilliant podcast on clinical reasoning and great KFP study resource

imreasoningI don’t often give unsolicited plugs for FOAMed resources but felt I needed to share my delight at having recently discovered the IMReasoning podcast. It is the creation of two internal medicine physicians, Dr. Art Nahill and Dr. Nic Szecket, working in Auckland and is described as “Conversations to inspire critical thinking in clinical medicine and education”.  I have binge listened my way through most of the episodes and thoroughly enjoyed them all.  They have found the sweet spot – demonstrating a near perfect balance between the informative and authoritative, and the entertaining and self-deprecating.

While relevant and helpful to us all, I think it is particularly of value to those intending to sit the FRACGP Key Feature Problems (KFP) exam for the first time, and for those who plan to re-sit.  It is also a “must” for supervisors and medical educators trying to develop clinical reasoning skills in their learners.

The KFP exam is designed specifically to test clinical reasoning.  It tends to have high failure rates and many candidates find it the hardest of the three Fellowship exams to get through.

As an RACGP State Censor, one of my jobs is to give feedback to failed candidates. While exam technique and knowledge gaps are undoubtedly factors for many, time and time again I see doctors with good clinical knowledge but poor clinical reasoning (memorisers, not thinkers).   They tend to find it difficult to assess patients in the context of the scenario given and to identify the key features/critical steps.

I think this podcast might help people better understand what the KFP is about. From here on in I intend to recommend the IMReasoning podcast as a KFP study plan essential.

You can find it at http://imreasoning.com/  and it is also available to download via iTunes.

I recommend starting from the beginning as the episodes build on each other.

In Episode 31: Stump the Chumps International with Genevieve Yates, I present a case for Art and Nic, attempting to “Stump the Chumps” with a very GP-type case. I chose the case because it illustrates some of the clinical reasoning and management challenges when assessing and managing some of the more complex primary care patients. (Spoiler alert – there isn’t a glorious diagnostic prize revealed or a great “ah ha” moment”).