6 Ways To Cope With Criticism of Midwifery Practice
This post is a Midwife Motivation Monday! Monday is the day I publish posts for inspiration in this crazy, life-affirming and life-expanding job of ours.
Coping with criticism of midwifery practice can be really difficult. Whether you're a new student or an experienced practitioner, we all get criticised, and it can be emotionally draining. So if you feel like you could handle improving your reaction to criticism of midwifery practice, this post is for you.
1. Remember: No One Ever Kicked A Dead Dog
I think my mum told me this first (she used to be a nurse). It's not a terribly nice phrase, but it sums up something true.
If you were such a bad practitioner that no-one thought you could improve, no-one would criticise you. If you're having criticism of your midwifery practice, to some extent you know you're on the right track! Try and learn from whatever you're being criticised about.
2. If You've Done Something Wrong, Say Sorry
I've seen so many situations (and been in so many situations) that only needed an apology. We all get stuff wrong. Managers, lecturers, the most experienced to the least. Midwifery is such a huge and involved job that at some point we're going to forget the name band, forget the patient label, or forget something much bigger.
If you know you've made a mistake, saying sorry meaningfully can stop whoever's criticising you in their tracks. If they don't encounter resistance they'll be disarmed.
In the past this has worked so well for me that the person who has been criticising me has become a good friend.
3. Know That Everyone Gets Criticism Of Midwifery Practice At Some Point
What's more, I bet you criticise and judge quite a lot, even if it's only in your head! It's human!
Are your criticisms well thought out and logical every time? No! Sometimes criticism can be completely irrelevant - try and analyse it before you take criticism of midwifery practice seriously.
It's also good to remember it's only a matter of time before someone else gets criticised. Hospitals and group practices are funny places. It's a bit like a school playground. Everyone gets criticised sometimes, but being 'in trouble' doesn't tend to last for long. Give it a couple of days and someone else will be being criticised (and you will remember what it feel like and give them a hand)!
4. You Can't Please Everyone
Especially in a job like midwifery where emotions run high and resources are scarce, you just won't be able to make everyone you come into contact with 100% satisfied. Criticism of midwifery practice will happen - but try to remember, everyone has an opinion, but it's impossible to make everyone happy.
5. Criticism of Midwifery Practice is Inevitable - But Most People Really Value Midwives
Whatever career you have, you are going to experience some criticism. However the more important your job is, the more criticism you will receive. Midwifery is a very important job, meaning criticism of midwifery practice is very common.
Criticism of midwifery practice is just part of having a professional job and you have to get used to it if you're going to be comfortable being a midwife.
6. The Harshest Critics Are Often the Least Qualified to Give You Criticism
Usually, people giving really harsh criticism of midwifery practice are scared of failing themselves, or having a hard time in their life.
The really good mentors I know offer advice, constructive criticism and help in easily applied ways. The most interesting and worthy clients are the ones that offer criticism in a kind way. This is because they know people are more likely to take on board criticism of midwifery practice if it's given respectfully.
This is a good screening tool - if the criticism feels constructive, it's usually important. If it feels harsh, it's usually not.
Have you got any good ways of dealing with criticism? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
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