Hello my name is Dr. Tablet, but you can just call me Tab. In this video, we’ll be talking about health and wellness during practicum. Practicum can be an exciting time for students, but it can also be scary and stressful. Emotional awareness, self-care and compassion are key tools to help you manage your health and wellness throughout your practicum and in life. To explore these topics further, we’ll be following the story of a pharmacy student on practicum and discussing some of the emotions and stressors she experiences.This is Tina. Tina is a first-year pharmacy student who lives at home with her parents and sisters. When she’s not busy studying, she hangs out with her friends and goes hiking with her sisters.
This year, Tina has been assigned to a pharmacy that’s 8 hours away from her hometown meaning she’ll have to move away from her family and live on her own for the first time in her life.
While she was hoping to be placed closer to home, Tina is up to the challenge and is excited for the opportunity to learn in a new environment.
Starting her practicum, Tina falls into a new routine. She wakes up, goes to practicum, returns to her apartment, and works on her practicum activities. While she knows that her family is just a phone call away, somehow, it’s not the same.
Her practicum is far more difficult than she expected. Today was her first time dealing with health insurance and she mistakenly charged a patient for their medications without checking if they had drug coverage. This caused the patient to get very upset and one of the pharmacy assistants had to step in to manage the situation.
Tina is worried that the pharmacy staff may feel bothered that they need to step in to help. She also feels bad asking questions and feels anxious whenever her practice educator gives her feedback. She also notices that other staff members don’t interact much with her and concludes that perhaps they don’t enjoy working with her. Returning home to her empty apartment, Tina can’t wait until her practicum is over.
Let’s pause for a moment and identify what emotions Tina may have experienced in her first week of practicum.
Tina may be experiencing any or all of these emotions. She may feel lonely since moving away from her family, tired from her long days at practicum, and insecure or anxious about her performance so far. At the same time, she might be feeling optimistic and excited about the opportunity to be working with such an experienced pharmacy team. She knows school has prepared her for this practicum and is confident in her ability to take on new challenges as they come.
Identifying our emotions, and trying to understand why we feel the way we feel, can help us learn more about ourselves and manage difficult feelings when they arise.
By identifying her emotions Tina can find productive ways to manage them and keep them from overwhelming her.
By recognizing her feelings of loneliness, she can take steps to help herself by reaching out to friends and family.
By acknowledging that she is feeling insecure about her lack of experience, she can start to question how this is affecting her perceptions and work to reframe her thoughts. Does the pharmacy staff actually dislike her or are they just busy with their work?
Identifying your emotions is an important part of emotional awareness that can help you move past negative emotions, embrace change, and feel well.
Next up, I’ll be talking about self-care and the basics of health and wellness.
As healthcare professionals, we educate our patients about self-care all the time. We talk about exercise, healthy eating, and the importance of sleep and reaching out for help when needed. Now it’s time for us to take our own advice.
The changes in Tina’s life have affected the very basis of how she cares for her own health.
Where before she went hiking with her sisters, she now stays home instead.
Where she used to get home cooked meals from her family, she now has a lot of fast foods.
She’s been separated from her main network of social supports and she berates herself over every mistake and failure.
Tina recognizes she won’t be able to change her situation overnight but she knows that taking a look at her basic health needs is a good place to start.
While hiking with her sisters is no longer an option, Tina decides to start making the effort to get out of her apartment and go for walks at least once a week. She finds that the fresh air helps to relieve some of her anxiety.
In school, Tina had learned about nutrition but always found it difficult to apply her knowledge to everyday life. She decides to take this opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes. She looks up new recipes online and her friends and family are more than happy to share their own recipe suggestions. Tina finds a sense of accomplishment in learning something new.
Tina recognizes the importance of a good night’s sleep and makes it her mission to take care of herself by cutting down on coffee before bed and reducing her nightly screen time.
It was a slow and very personal journey but Tina learned to adapt to her new situation and work towards better health and wellness.
I know it can feel difficult at times to incorporate self-care into your busy schedule. Between pre-readings, preparing care plans and presentations, it can be hard to find time to focus on personal wellness.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits all solution when it comes to this but I’d encourage you to remember that self-care doesn’t have time be time-consuming or complicated. It could be as simple as taking a 15-minute break while working on your care plan to stretch your legs, listen to some music, or call a friend.
I want you to know that there are resources you can use and people who are here to support you. You just need to take the first step and ask for help.
UBC has a variety of free resources to support you throughout your studies. These include counselling services, personal wellness activities, and more. Online and in-person assistance is available so you can access help no matter where you are.
The Office of Student Services is also here to support your wellbeing. I would encourage you to contact them if you’re going through any challenges such as health issues, adjustment to the program, or family concerns. They can also help connect you to the right person to talk to such as our in-house counsellor or other resources.
If you’re experiencing financial stress or anxiety, talk to your Enrolment Services Advisor. They can help answer any questions regarding your financial situation at UBC.
When dealing with practicum- specific difficulties such as struggling to meet practicum expectations, requesting academic concession, or managing conflict with your practice educator, the Office of Experiential Education is here to help you.
The last thing I want to talk about is self-compassion
Many pharmacy students can be their own worst critic. There are times when I have made mistakes that haunted me for days. I remember thinking things like:
“How did I not know that”
“I’m not cut out for this” and
“Why am I doing so bad”
These, and other negative thoughts, seemed to play in an endless loop and, like Tina, I began to feel paranoid that others thought these things about me as well. When this happens, I practice self-compassion by using positive self-talk instead and standing up to my inner critic.
It’s natural to feel embarrassed or disappointed with yourself when you make a mistake and during these times it’s important that you make an effort to be kind to yourself. Negative self-talk can quickly take a toll on your mental and physical well-being.
So be kind to yourself and remember there’s no shame in asking for help.
At the end of the day, I want you to know that you’re not alone, stress is a normal response and it’s okay to give yourself permission to take care of your own health and well-being.
I hope you found this video helpful.
Thanks for watching. I’m Dr. Tablet and I hope you have a fanTABulous practicum!
We would like to thank Alyssa Low for helping to create this video and Garrett Tang for helping to create this video and designing original images (e.g. Dr. Tablet).