Saturday, January 24, 2015

The responsibility barrier and motivation, feline fashion and Phil's trip to the beach

Bosca meets a friendly Frenchie.
Has your motivation ever flagged? I don’t know anyone that is able to drive themselves at 100 per cent capacity every waking minute – and suspect such a state would be somewhat pathological. Recently I was reflecting on some of the challenges of keeping motivated in the final year of veterinary school.

One the one hand you’re so close to the finish – only months away from graduating and becoming the fully fledged vet you’d always dreamed of becoming. On the other hand, you’re still a student. At the pointy end of the degree there should not really be any difference between a final-year student and a new graduate – but there is one thing and I think it impacts on motivation.

The “responsibility barrier”. As a new graduate remarked to me when I was in final year, you don’t have responsibility for the case. Your decisions are all run by someone else, the buck does not stop with you. Which is a relief when you’re learning, but it can at times make one feel like one is just an observer. When you don’t have responsibility for the case, being assessed on how you’d manage it can feel like you’re jumping through a hoop for the sake of it.

When that responsibility barrier disappears, with its safety net, vetting gets more challenging. But also – even when you are doing the same thing – much more interesting. It’s easier for people in general to become emotionally invested and motivated to learn.

My best advice to students is to treat cases as if they are wholly your responsibility – in your head of course. Make your own problem list, create your own diagnostic plan, make your own therapeutic decisions – then compare them to that of the experienced clinician and the literature. It’s a much better way of learning than observing and analysing the decision making post-hoc.

Liza's Small World

If you’re into feline fashion, check out Liza and Archibald’s blog, Small World. I met Liza at a blogging workshop and she was dressed to the nine’s in cat themed clothing, from dress to shoes to accessories. You have to respect someone who dresses to a theme. I love this lazy cat ring she blogged about.

We’re looking forward to chatting with Liza and Archibald about their passion for felines.

Alicia at the beach with Phil (before the big scary wave).
Meantime there is a long weekend to be had, folks. We kicked ours off with a run on the beach (more accurately, a run FROM the beach as Phil got spooked by a wave - which, to lend some perspective, reached the Frenchie's ankles) and a Malaseb bath (the sand made him itchy). Which culminated in a lie-down.

Tuckered out. A small dog needs a big couch to recover on.