In my job, I always question what is enough.
My first scenario involves the times where I question myself whether I have done enough for my clients. You see, in a community services job, it’s hard to measure success. Ultimate success means that a family exits our system, and be independent without too much external support. But for a family to jump out from what I see as a “shit hole”, it takes enormous amount of time.
Our job often involves intersecting a family’s life for a very very short moment. It’s like having a flu, you would see a doctor to get help, but eventually you would want to be independent and away from the doctors and medications, because you know you can’t rely on them. I am essentially the doctor here. The community is the medications. My focus is not about the medications, just the doctor. As a doctor, when a patient begins engaging with you, you would start to think, have you done enough to make sure you can confidently discharge them. You would hope that the discharge plan can fully support the patient. I believe that most doctors are confident with their plan. However I’m that doctor who is worried about my plans, worried that they will relapse and end up overdoing as a doctor. I seem to unconsciously hoping to see the patient recover before they are discharge completely. But the reality doesn’t work this way. It seems to be a dead end for me. So I turned to my mentor, the senior doctor here. I need to thank my mentor for her words. She said our job is to plant the seeds and hope that the clients would flourish. Unfortunately, we are not at the position to see the flower blossom, but with the clients not coming back to see us, the doctors, this is the best we can achieve. I can’t agree more to this.
The other scenario involves whether your client has done enough themselves. You see, some patients would go to the doctors for whatever they experienced, even a tiny glitch of any kind. Some clients rely on us to support their every step, and eventually they are reliant on us. As a doctor, you cannot refuse to see them because it’s unethical. But what can you do? The best thing to do as a doctor is to empower the patient, and knowing your boundaries as a doctor. Sometimes if you spend too much time with a client, other clients would be neglected. Therefore, boundaries must be set. Learn to say no (which I’m still learning). Another thing I do is to positively reinforce their behaviour and empower them. Of course, it must be situational appropriate. But that’s the best I can do. I have other lives to save, and it’s time for the clients to slowly get back on their feet and continue their journey.
You see, what does it mean by “enough”. To me, it means that I strive to plant as much seeds as possible. But it depends on the seeds themselves to blossom. I would be sure to stand at the end line to take a beautiful picture of these fully blossomed flowers.