Finishing a placement and then having to prepare for a new one is disorienting. You still have your old cases whirling around in your head, as well as reminders about weekly to-dos like team meetings, case reviews, referrals, bits of theory you want to read up on, things to chase up like metabolic screening, questionnaires, and you remember the nice Japanese and Thai cafes and the little greengrocer right next to the train station and the amazing Greek cake shop and how convenient it was to have a Woolies basically inside the station…and then it all changes. You have to let go of all that, and make yourself familiar with a new team, new names, new admin, a new hospital/clinic, a new way of doing notes, and a completely new location where you don’t know all the good places to eat, the coffee shops, if you’ll have time for breaks, what parking is like, etc etc etc. (My next placement happens to be somewhere I used to work a long, long time ago so I’m somewhat familiar with the location, although it’s all changed now.) It’s like starting a new job every 6 months.
Not to mention an entirely different patient group. So far my external placements have been in adult settings, whereas the one I’m going to is in paediatrics. I haven’t worked with children and families in about a year. I need to dust off my developmental books and my family therapy skills. I was fortunate to get a good amount of time in the university clinic both assessing children with suspected learning disorders and attentional difficulties, as well as doing therapy for different age ranges and presenting problems, but I still feel unprepared. What if…?
I was lucky enough to get a 1.5 week break between placements, which I’m using to recruit and test participants for my research, and to catch up on TV shows (The Killing, The Fall, and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell are current favourites) and on knitting. I’ve also got a weekend trip out of the city coming up, where the plan is to walk around a lot, eat lots of food, play lots of games – can’t wait. I hope it clears my mind a bit.