As I sit here writing this, contemplating what to write after much thought and reflection, I realise the power of receiving great advice as a practitioner about to enter the newly qualified world.

You see, I am writing this not only in my first year of practice, but a year in which the world has faced one of the biggest pandemics and taking the time to reflect on advice given has been essential in readjusting my mind-set and remaining calm. I have been fortunate to receive brilliant advice that has helped me compose myself during any ‘newly qualified wobbles’ and change my perception on situations.

A couple of months in to starting my first post as an Occupational Therapist, where imposter syndrome was still a thing and I had constant waves of feeling overwhelmed, I was told of a quote that still resonates strongly with me now. The quote was from Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr,

“A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions”.

This particular piece of advice came from a doctor on the ward, who probably sensed my nerves and that I was feeling a bit lost initially in the transition to qualified.

It really struck me that the rollercoaster ride of being newly qualified will bring a font of knowledge every day, and whilst it can feel overwhelming, it signifies the learning process that accompanies your first year in practice.

I think it’s wonderful that many pieces of advice given haven’t been solely from Occupational Therapists, but the wider MDT also. It is great to receive advice from those that have been in my shoes and can relate, but for other professionals to contribute too really highlights the power of a strong MDT and how our role is valued amongst that. That boosts confidence in itself. Every day brings something new to learn and helps to shape clinical practice and clinical reasoning, providing learning that will stick with me and guide my practice over the years.

When working in a multi-disciplinary team that brings so much knowledge and individuals with years of experience, it is easy to feel out of your depth. If you put that into the mix with being newly qualified it can really impact confidence. The advice given clarified with me that I don’t need to run before I can walk, and to use the first year of practice to cement my learning. There’s a fine balance to achieve with being newly qualified and wanting to step up and share the newfound passion and eager enthusiasm for being a qualified practitioner, whilst also allowing the learning to take place and being kind to yourself throughout the process whilst you learn.

Most importantly, I was reminded not to be afraid to ask questions and to channel what I have learnt into effective clinical practice and to continue to build on the experiences and knowledge gained – as Julius Caesar said, “experience is the teacher of all things”.

Written by Katy Williams.

This project is funded by the Elizabeth Casson Trust

Photo by @helloimnik via Unsplash