Short course thoughts – session 3

In this week’s reflection, our Intern NG Pak Wing (Stanley) reflects on his experiences in the penultimate session of the HAT short course running in partnership with Nursing Now and kind funding from the Burdett Nursing trust (who recently celebrated their 20th anniversary!).

It’s my third week of attending the short HAT course “Coping with Crisis”, and in this instalment, I would like to look back at what I’ve learnt from it. One main thing that comes to mind is how I have learnt to truly listen to others and feel with them.

To start, the breathing exercises reminded me of shifting the focus from the surroundings to myself. As I held my breath, stretched and exhaled, the core of my attention shifted to noticing how my stomach locks and relaxes as I breathe and move.

Exercises I have learnt from the course, like alternate nostril breathing, have become part of my daily routine. I used to have an odd habit of waking up at night to mark down new points and ideas for my projects. Now, as I focus on counting my breath and noticing how it performs, the thoughts are put aside through the night.

Another thing I’ve learnt is effective communication. For example, by performing in “forum theatre” [a type of theatre where the spectators are invited to join a scene they have just watched from the start, to improvise a different outcome], I saw how my class mates were stuck between a busy ward and ad-hoc demands in the role play. This also makes me think of my experiences of being in my own crises.

For instance, I helped organise a conference last week. There, I designed the slides that accompany the speakers on stage. However I noticed they had some factual errors the day before the event. At the time, feedback was scattered, and my laptop was required for rehearsing so I couldn’t amend them. As it happened, I asked my supervisor to sum up what opinions those responsible for the speakers had, who also reached out to another teammate for help.

In previous stages, when I saw loads of amendments, I would be annoyed and would have tended to carry on trying to fix them alone. Yet, through HAT through I could better understand what needed to be fixed and how others could support me, and so I retained my foothold in handling the problem.

One thing I’m still trying to master is achieving “sympathetic presence” [a term used in the person-centred nursing framework which underpins all of our HAT courses, take a look at our resources and publications for more on the term] online. On social platforms I tend to consider my immediate thoughts through others’ shoes, despite the ‘others’ often being imaginary. From now, I’ll put a brake on myself before getting to immediate conclusions, stop assuming others’ pain and try to truly learn about it.

To sum up, the course inspired me to strike a balance between learning others’ struggles, performing my presence, and then analysing situations to help achieve a solution. Reaching to a close, I hope this course will not just make a slight dent in how I communicate, but one I remember in my future endeavours.

by NG Pak Wing (Stanley), HAT intern 

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