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Consultant Editors Lynda Sibson, Ian Peate, Pete Gregory Editor Aysha Mendes Commercial Manager Colin Williams Classified Executive Colin Williams Production Manager Kyri Apostolou Production Assistant Jamie Hodgskin Content Development Director Tom Pollard Editorial Director Sophie Gardner Managing Director Anthony Kerr Associate Publisher Mike Shallcross Publisher Chloe Benson Chief Executive Officer Ben Allen

Editorial Board Guillaume Alinier Director of Research, Hamad Medical Corporation Ambulance Service, Doha, Qatar; Professor, Simulation in Healthcare Education, University of Hertfordshire, UK Ayesha Bal Paramedic, West Midlands Ambulance Service Trust, UK Aidan Baron Paramedic Researcher, Sydney, Australia; Visiting Researcher in Emergency, Cardiovascular and Critical Care, Kingston University and St George’s, University of London Tony Bleetman Consultant in Emergency Medicine; Honorary Associate Professor, University of Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK Malcolm Boyle Associate Professor and Academic Lead, Paramedic Education, Griffith University, Australia Dr Mike Brooke Doctor and Advanced Paramedic, Tameside Hospital NHS Trust/North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust UK Tanoh Asamoah-Danso Paramedic, East of England Ambulance Service Trust, UK David Davis Clinical Lead, Integrated Urgent Care Workforce Development Programme, NHS England; Fellow and Mental Health Spokesperson, College of Paramedics; Founding Fellow, Faculty of Clinical Informatics, UK Robert Deighton Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Science & Prehospital Care, Edge Hill University, Manchester, UK John Donaghy Senior Lecturer, Paramedic Science, Anglia Ruskin University, UK Georgette Eaton Clinical Practice Development Manager, Advanced Paramedic Practitioners (Urgent Care), London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, UK Kerry Gaskin Principle Lecturer, Advancing Clinical Practice; Academic Lead, CPD and Paramedic Science, Allied Health and Social Sciences Academic Unit, University of Worcester, UK Pete Gregory Head of Allied Health Professions, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK Sigurd Haveland HCPC Paramedic; Resilience and Special Operations Officer, Ambulance Service, Gibraltar Health Authority Andrew Kirk Associate Head, Allied Health

Professions Education, Edge Hill University, UK Joanne Mildenhall Paramedic Team Leader, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust, UK Dr Tom Mallinson Prehospital Doctor, BASICS Scotland, UK Ian Mursell Consultant Paramedic, East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, UK Ian Peate Head of School, School of Health Studies, Gibraltar Health Authority, Gibraltar Nigel Rees Senior Research Lead, Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, UK John Renshaw Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Science, Coventry University, UK Alan Rice Associate Professor, Paramedic Practice, Department of Paramedic Science, Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, UK Lynda Sibson Telemedicine Manager, East of England Stroke Telemedicine Service, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, UK Ceri Sudron Senior Lecturer and Paramedic Science Course Lead, University of Wolverhampton, UK Kacper Sumera Lecturer in Paramedic Science & Pre-Hospital Care, Edge Hill University, Manchester, UK Sammer Tang Public Health Registrar, Gloucestershire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK James Taylor Locality Manager, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, UK Mark Woolcock Consultant Paramedic; Lead Clinician, Cornwall Health Out-of-Hours Aimee Yarrington FCPara, Clinical Team Mentor and Midwife, West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS University Foundation Trust, Shropshire, UK

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ISSN 1759-1376 Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Blackwood, NP12 2YA


Greatest strength

When I moved out of my parents’ house and I first tried my hand at cooking, I was hit with a quite urgent need to work out a plan for my life that included preparation of my meals by someone other than myself. I would make a mess of the most basic of dishes, with even rice coming out soggy or burnt. It took years before I began gradually feeling good about the meals I cooked and, frankly, I am still humbly evolving in this regard today.

I was hard on myself. I compared my cooking to my mum’s, wondering how she did it and when I would ever get there. It took me a very long while to realise that by the time I was old enough to remember my mum’s cooking, she had been at it for many, many years. We all have to start somewhere, and this is true regardless of the endeavour. Whether we have just started a new career path, started a new hobby, or are navigating a new role in our personal lives such as becoming a spouse or a parent, no one starts out knowing what they are doing. All the study in the world cannot replace the experience of spending years just doing something again and again, learning from every step and misstep along the way.

In the current issue of the Journal of Paramedic Practice, our NQP columnist, Mahdiyah Bandali, reflects on her journey over the last 2 years since qualifying. She discusses having been so keen and ambitious to grow and to prove herself that she did not want to ever turn down a shift. She also mentions the guilt that can settle in when we need a break from something we’re supposed to love after wanting it so badly for so long, and working so hard for it. However, needing a break does not mean we are any less grateful for the gifts in our lives—it simply means that we are human and not designed to repeat tasks in a machine-like fashion. As individuals, we each bring so much more to our work and lives than could a machine—from our hearts, minds, spirits, and bodies, every aspect of the self needs to be honoured, rested and recuperated before they are ready to keep on giving their talents and receiving their lessons. The ambitions we strive for in our lives are not the only gifts we need to treasure; our greatest gift is our self. Abusing it in the name of a single goal—even if the goal feels like our whole lives in that moment in time—robs us not only of the sustainable ability to reach the goal, but of our spirits, the joys of our journey, and of many other opportunities and experiences that are perhaps meant for us but that are lost to us when we allow ourselves to burn out.

I recall a great many professional exchanges over the years—particularly over the last 2 years—where people have sent messages my way about their human experiences during moments of struggle, and once rested or recovered, have written again to apologise for their ‘lack of professionalism’. I am often known for saying to others, ‘never apologise for being human’. We all struggle and have our personal and professional lives to navigate. There is no shame in this. In fact, in every industry and aspect of society, we need to move away from professional cultures in which it is deemed unacceptable to react to difficult situations in human ways—this is a significant part of normalising our mental health journeys and removing any stigma associated with our challenges and emotions. The thing that makes us vulnerable and human cannot be replaced by any machine, and is not a weakness—but indeed our greatest strength. JPP

Aysha Mendes is editor of Journal of Paramedic Practice.

Journal of Paramedic Practice • Vol 14 No 6


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