Last week saw the annual ritual that was my appraisal. In past years I have tried to spice this up by soliciting buzzwords to shoehorn into the conversation. This year I thought it was time I grew up a bit, so I tried to do this one cold. My appraiser this year was a colleague from somewhere the far side of Felpersham, and a year or two older than myself. We spent an afternoon dissecting the year just gone and trying to read the runes for the year to come. As with all public servants dependent on the public purse we expect to be asked to do more with less, but we both agree we've been here, or somewhere pretty close to it before.
Overall then, not too bad, and although I missed the opportunity to inject the odd piece of inappropriate jargon or old rock lyric into the conversation, we parted on good terms, we even got round to talking about poor Albert. And I've got my buzzword for next year from the process itself. Indeed every GP in the country will have the same buzzword ever after as we progress from appraisal to licensing and re validation, and that word will be "reflection". I'm thinking of having a silver spandex suit made up for next time, or a top hat adorned with mirrors like Noddy Holder used to wear.
I know I'm getting on a bit, and I've also been known to wax a bit cynical from time to time, but the new system, in its current format (which may still change) will have us recording every educational activity we pursue at least twice, and preferably three times. First to show we did it, then to show we thought about it, then if possible, to show that when we'd thought about it we did what we thought we ought having done it, and thought about it. Clear?
It's absolutely right and proper that we hold our practice up to scrutiny, and that we try to show that we are continuing to strive to be the best that we can. I'm just not quite sure this new endlessly recursive method is entirely the best. Still it's a very small price to pay for the privilege of holding a licence to practice medicine.
The only other problem I have, is that all this professional introspection can rather become a habit, and it's starting to spill over into life outside the surgery right now. I'm discovering I've got a little way to go to becoming a zen master.
Time to dust off the old relaxation technique methinks, well after a nice fruity claret anyhow.