On feedback and reflection (or the kick for professional development)

For the second time during medical school, I received 360-feedback on my strengths and weaknesses. The ESCI, or Emotional and Social Competency Index, is lovely in retrospect and a pain beforehand. In order to obtain that 360-feedback, I submit 15min surveys to managers, peers, and folks that I manage.

We first completed the ESCI before entering medical school. During that time, I was coaching crossfit & crew and had plenty of folks to send surveys. Since receiving the feedback from those fourteen individuals, I haven’t looked back on it. Reading it now, I’m humbled by the high opinions of those I worked with.

Moving into the back half of third year clerkships, we are asked to complete another round. I struggled to fill out the survey list. During the grind of third year, I always felt low on the totem pole such that I kept my head low and only really responded when called. This led to feedback from only seven individuals this time. Of note, all of the peers surveyed had been interviewed On Death.

Reading the report this time around, I was surprised by a feeling of pride. Those around me hold me in high regard. Perhaps if I had asked some MAs or other folks that I don’t necessarily consider close friends, I would have had some hard truths revealed.

The verbatim comments mention my strengths as reading groups and being self-aware. The areas of improvement generally laid in professional development. One comment mentions that if I expended as much energy into my professional development as I do my personal, then the sky’s the limit.

I knew this. I know this. Personal development is something that I am fond of and comfortable with: I am after all coming off a weekend retreat filled with self-reflection and deep emotional work. I find it fascinating to hear others echo this sentiment. This tells me that my personal development is at least sufficient.

Now, how do I develop myself professionally? How do I best prepare for my future career, build the blocks for a foundation that will serve me? That is less clear and far less comfortable.

In my personal development, I know the things that I should hunt: my inner dialogue, my closest relationships, and my reactions to external stimuli. In my professional development, I feel like the pursuits are less clear.

Should I focus on this step of my medical education by preparing for the upcoming shelf exam? Or the looming board exam this summer? Should I begin to network in the field of psychiatry to develop a web and community that can support me in my future endeavors? Or should I learn business practices that will assist me in running a successful clinical practice?

Mostly, I feel that I should focus on the task ahead of me before getting ahead of myself. Taking this line of thinking to its logical extreme, then I am always putting out fires and never addressing the smoldering pile of wood before it catches.

Of course, the best course of action lies somewhere in the middle. I am reviewing flashcards and completing a questions everyday to keep myself sharp for the board exam. With a few intro to fourth year meetings, I have an idea of how to shape and schedule my final year of medical school. I’m even beginning to narrow my field of residency applications.

This feedback serves as an excellent reminder that the practices that brought me here will not necessarily bring me to where I want to go. I need to grow and develop in uncomfortable ways, because those seeds will yield the fruit for the next stage. All while staying present on the ones around me, now.

Emotionally, I feel strong. The weekend away has brought me closer to life around me. 
Spiritually, I feel connected. The weekend challenged me and my expectations. 
Physically, I feel stiff. Returning to our bed has been a wonderful pleasure, but my body has definitely accumulated some stiffness that needs to be floated away, massaged out, and sweat through.
Relationally, I feel close. I met some amazing people that I want to keep in contact with. I feel renewed in my partnership with Mackenzi.

Emotional – 5/5
Spiritual – 5/5
Physical – 4/5
Relational – 5/5

Total – 19/20
3wk running total – 54/60

Long Form Sundays

On Death Podcast

6 thoughts on “On feedback and reflection (or the kick for professional development)

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