Mindfulness, Reflection and the VetGDP

Mindfulness, Reflection and the VetGDP

During my conversation with Thom Jenkins from PetsApp he asked me how mindfulness, which is all about living in the moment, fitted in with reflection, which is all about looking back at how events happened. Both are important in their own right, but when used together they are powerful tools in self-development and wellbeing.

Mindfulness gives us the ability to understand how we are doing at any given moment, how events are making us feel, what effect events are having on our emotions, thoughts and how they are affecting us physically. We are in the best position to examine what is happening as it happens, but it is not always practical to fully evaluate what is happening at the time, and this is where reflection comes in. With a mindful approach to life, we are in a better position to honestly reflect on how things have gone for us and how we could make improvements, to reflect on our successes and to set goals in our lives. 

Reflection works best when undertaken in a timely fashion near to the events that we are reflecting on. The longer the period of time between events and reflection, the more chance there is of the events been coloured by random thoughts which can distort the truth of the situation. 

Shortly after my conversation with Thom, I embarked on the Vet Graduate Development Programme (VetGDP) adviser training. The VetGDP is the latest initiative from the RCVS to aid new graduates in their development from day one in practice to a veterinary professional. It is a progress which gives the new graduate a safe place to discuss their progress, to recognise their strengths and where they need to improve, with guidance from an adviser who will coach and mentor them and point them in the right direction to achieve their aims. As I progressed through the course, I was struck by the overlap of mindfulness and reflection that I have written about previously (Make Time for Reflection).

Personally,I feel that the VetGDP initiative has the potential to improve the lives of new graduates, and to improve the consistency and quality of advice and treatments in practice by embracing a learning, non-blame culture, to allow success to be shared and weaknesses to be understood and steps put in place to ensure lessons are learned and mistakes not repeated. 

Alongside the VetGDP initiative, the use of Evidence Based Veterinary Medicine (EBVM) and Quality Improvement (QI) we have at our disposal extremely powerful tools to improve the quality and consistency of veterinary care, to improve the public perception of the profession by showing that we are investing in improvement and to improve the wellbeing of the profession by engendering a supportive, non-judgemental, learning environment.




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