Patrick Gaul discusses professional effectiveness and confidence 

The goal is to be an effective, confident professional.  The two themes are, of course, linked.  You have to have confidence in your own abilities to be effective.  The more effective you are, your confidence ought to grow.  The life of a professional is complicated, beset by risks, demanding judgment calls every hour of the day. It can be an advantage to worry and to see the nuances and the doubts but to be effective you have to make decisions and to know why you are making the decisions that you take.  Lots of people hate making decisions and prefer to pass the buck because that is seen as a path to an easier life.  Decision makers are soon seen as leaders.  As your reputation grows for making the right decisions, you will be seen as a high performing individual and will become a ‘go to’ person.  Opportunities will open up for you.  You will truly have a career, not just a job, which will probably become more demanding but will also be more enjoyable and fulfilling.

You are just starting out, building that career.  The purpose of these blogs is to discuss what building blocks you need to put in place to become an effective and confident healthcare professional.  The very best have to start somewhere, have to take the first uncertain steps and ask lots of questions.  Your knowledge is academic and you have little practical experience.  Everyone has to have a first day in a new job and deal with their first case and at first most of us just want to get through the ordeal of feeling out of your depth.  Time will pass quickly. 

The idea of building a career is a little misleading because it implies a grand design and a series of stages, and professional life is rarely so neatly structured. In any event, your ideas and aspirations will alter because of force of circumstances or personal choice.  But in the first weeks and months your learning curve needs to be steep.  You need to commit to continuous professional development from day one.  For most people it is an unconscious process and life is too busy to be systematic about it.   I do not mean simply the knowledge required to perform an operation.  I mean the observation of others who are more experienced and it could be anything from their humanity, their communication skills, the way they deal with difficulties, the way they inspire confidence and lead, or their technical skills in interpreting reports or performing a procedure.

The goal of being a confident, high performing individual will be affected by many factors and influences and the road will not be straight but you should aspire to that goal from the start.  In the next few weeks I will discuss some of the ways and means of achieving the goal and will look at the following topics:  training, mentoring, knowledge, emotional intelligence, leadership, risk management, knowledge and knowledge management.  A true appreciation of these building blocks will lead to you achieving  your goals.