Looking after you
Working with palliative care patients is both rewarding and emotionally costly. It is impossible to engage enough, and provide the necessary emotional investment, without there being a cost to the experience. It helps enormously for professionals to set realistic objectives. The clinical sciences co-exist with the art of care giving. Patients require and deserve both sets of skills and knowledge. All professionals in healthcare have phases when they have been hurt and made mistakes, and have usually had times when their emotions got the better of them. Communication dilemmas do not have the urgency that is often attached to them in other clinical settings. Every professional has her own family and worries. Having hobbies and as much pleasure as possible is vital; the ‘empty tank’ of an exhausted professional needs to be filled.