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Caring for yourself

Case study about self-care and fitness to practice

​Her shift hasn’t started and already Doris is snapping a​​t a colleague. She knows she’s becoming increasingly short-tempered.

Caring for yourself  

Doris is struggling to find work-life balance. She is often grumpy with friends and co-workers and has to force herself to be pleasant. She’s started taking breaks alone to avoid talking to others. She finds it harder to stay focused and her shifts seem to drag.

Usually very outgoing, Doris now avoids socializing, feels irritated, and declines when others invite her to join them. She just wants to stay home and be left alone. She dreads having to go to work or even answer the phone.

She’s tired but has trouble sleeping. In the past, she’s used alcohol to cope but knows it’s not the best thing to do. Recently, she called in sick because she drank too much the night before.

At work, Doris believes she is keeping everything well hidden. She’s caught off guard when her colleague Rachel asks, “Are you alright? You’re not yourself — you seem really distant and distracted." Doris quickly responds, “I’m fine, I'm just tired.” She is annoyed by Rachel's comment.

Have you ever been concerned about your or a colleague’s emotional or mental well-being and fitness to practice? What did you do?

Deep down, Doris knows Rachel is right. She’s not fine and can no longer deny it. Rachel’s concern helps Doris recognize she needs to do something.

What are some options for Doris?

  • Make an honest self-appraisal of her emotions, thoughts, and behaviours
  • Sort out what her concerns are
  • Discuss her concerns with people she trusts 
  • Explore self-care strategies
  • Ask for help

What do the Standards say?

Doris is responsible for maintaining her physical, psychological, and emotional fitness to practice. She’s accountable for her decisions, actions, and professional conduct. This could include assessing her practice and undertaking self-care activities to improve her fitness to practice. By reflecting on and addressing her fitness to practice, Doris is taking steps to meet the Professional Standards.

How do you maintain work-life balance?

When you assess your practice, think about how you maintain your physical, psychological, and emotional fitness to practice. You can include this reflection and related activities as part of your quality assurance activities.

What did Doris do?

Doris chooses to seek professional help. After counselling and treatment, she’s more aware of her triggers and can better manage her negative thoughts and emotions. She reflects that she has more energy and is feeling healthier. She feels good when Rachel tells her she is happy to have the “old Doris” back.