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a blog by Chris Barrow

A week in the life of a co-owner and spouse

(Reproduced and a little edited with the kind permission of the author - so that some might read this and realise that they are not alone)

Date: 09-Oct-2020

Job Title: Principal

Looking back over the week, what do I class as my biggest “wins”? What am I pleased/confident about?

Just about surviving the week....!

I literally don't know what more to write in this section this week - it has been a true struggle this week !

Starting the week on the back of a weekend of stress when a team member tested positive, followed by anxious team members.

Monday morning - internet crashed as a result of which our phone lines crashed and patient portal subsequently crashed - it took me 4 hours on the phone to the service provider to get this back up and running but in this time patient emails had built up, there were angry patients, stressed out staff and a huge backlog.

Finally sat down in the office at 1 pm to just get my head clear to crack on - and guess what happens - yep - the X-ray software has crashed due to the server being rebooted - so there we were back on the phone to SOE for another 45 minutes.

Tuesday - short staffed already and the other nurse calls in sick.

Wednesday - first thing, email from pregnant nurse to tell us she wants to meet due to anxiety issues.... then hubby manages to run a hour late all day - meaning the team is mega-stressed.

Thursday - 2 dentists - both run incredibly late - messing up the fallow time schedule, again usual knock on effect on the team and the subsequent problems this brings. Then a rush to make my own Drs appt thereafter!

Friday - another team member sick.... and staff shortage already and its 12.30 pm and I haven't done anything productive yet...have the worse migraine and just feeling very sorry for myself!- but I really needed to complete this weekly tracker for my own sanity I think!

Looking back over the week, what are the biggest challenges I’m facing?

1. Staffing shortages - recruitment is back on to find a good dental nurse - hoping this is fruitful. We've had 1 nurse off with Covid... 2 this week have called in sick.

We feel this is going to become a new habit and it's really tough when already short staffed to keep things moving along.

2. Our town going into lockdown and the challenges this will bring. Patients not understanding why we are asking them to do the things we are - not understanding why their child's new tooth coming through isnt an emergency..etc etc

3. Health. It's been a struggle this week and I have felt it. An autoimmune problem really manifesting likely due to stress, a mini panic as the GP thought a 2 week ref may be required - thankfully they think it's all fine however it was a stark realisation that changes need to be made, and quickly.

4. Time - but we know everyone has this problem. We haven't managed to listen in on any zoom calls this week - a lot of catching up to do.

What are the three most important tasks I would like to achieve in the next week?

1. Continue with recruitment process and hopefully have interviews booked in.

2. A handle on my health.

What are the changes I can make in the next week both professionally and personally to improve my overall performance and behaviour?

1. Set the goals for the week on Sunday maybe - but allow for some flexibility.

2. Let go - Just accept certain things are the way they are.

3. Stop skipping lunch, sleep earlier and to avoid working on the laptop late into the night - try to reduce taking the work home if possible on at least 2-3 nights a week.

In what way (if any) could Coach Barrow help me right now? Any other notes/comments?

Keep doing as you are. I have read your blog post - and I know i'm not the only one who's felt like this or had a crap week. I think this week it just got way too much - every week has been stressful but this week I think it pushed me over that thin edge we all stand on and it was fair to say it did get me very incredibly upset mid week.

It's been a tough balancing act for all of us - the uncertainty this week probably hasn't helped, the rise in Covid cases and the fact that our town is likely going into a lockdown is probably playing on the back of my mind.

Sleep has suffered, I feel incredibly worn out, tired and just not very energetic at all every day I wake up.

This week was a full week with missed lunch every day - it's insane when I look back at it.

I think maybe a combination of all of this hasn't helped. Maybe as you've said in your blog post it's possible burn out - looking back - the last time we both took more than a long weekend off work was August 2019 - apart from that it has only been the weekends or the public holidays, and I think maybe this isn't making us very effective at all.

Who knows, but whatever it is - it's been tough. It's strange isn't it - sometimes you need to vent/let it out and just wallow in self pity to hopefully make yourself feel better ... I am aware a lot of the changes I need to make are down to me - and I will try.

Any words of wisdom as always would be much appreciated, right now it's safe to say it feels like we are drowning and we know as always you'll have something very, very helpful to share!

Finally - a thank you. Through you we have accessed a amazing support network and I don't really know how we functioned before this - thank you.

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