Generic abilities are required to be successful physical therapists in a clinical environment. These abilities are not knowledge and technical skills based or learned in books, but ten areas important for successful performance as a physical therapist, as indicated by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. To improve upon generic abilities requires awareness, practice and gaining experience. It takes constant reassessment of self performance, questioning, and never being satisfied with just “good”. It is striving to be better. The areas in which it is essential that I improve upon are the effective use of time and stress management.
In the UW-Madison generic abilities assessment, effective use of time and resources is defined as, “The ability to obtain the maximum benefit from a minimum investment of time and resources”. I struggle with identifying a plan to utilize my time effectively. I am not a procrastinator by any means, but I am aware that better use of my time in an ordered fashion would improve my efficiency, allowing an increase in productivity and maintaining my personal stress levels to a minimum. I tend to neglect in my prioritizing classes the ones that the exams I deem as not as difficult for others that I fear. In my experience, I understand that all the classes have a purpose and are important. By the way in which I concentrate on one subject, I neglect another and thereby lose a part of my education I feel is pertinent. If the notes of the class are complimented by the book, I study only from the notes instead of utilizing the book. The book as a resource is beneficial to fully understand missing links in what I am learning, but my poor time management does not allow for the luxury of getting a little more out of my education.
I always seem to feel there are not enough hours in the day. The first thing to be eliminated is usually my exercise program. Of course, my exercise program is one of the few ways I cope with a stressful situation. Therefore, I am in a stressful environment where I am unable to accomplish all I wish, which is created by my poor time management skills. Then I remove my coping mechanism. I can say that this is not a very effective method of survival when entering a professional situation, or a learning environment for that matter. Gaining control of my time and stress level is pertinent in being effective in any realm.
Time management is an important attribute needed to be effective in an intensive program such as NUPT and as a professional working in a clinical environment managing several patients at a time. The inability to maintain a plan of action and get things done in an orderly fashion would make it difficult to be an effective physical therapist with different plans of action needed for individual programs. The ability to stay organized and efficient is an asset to the working environment for good care of patients as well as creating the proper working environment for colleagues. Undue stress can be created when disorder is allowed to rule. Mistakes commonly occur when rushing and one is lacking in focus. Stress can create a poor atmosphere for communication with patients and colleagues. Stress can also play a role in neglecting personal health jeopardizing emotional and physical well-being.
Being aware of the time and stress management issues is half the battle. Developing and implementation of a plan to decrease the difficulties I have with these areas is extremely important. My plan is to establish a daily planner that identifies the agenda for the day, time available for studying, or different activities such as exercise, paper writing, and even cooking. I will to initiate a program in which I utilize study time more efficiently, and read all the required readings that compliment class notes. I want to commence a regular meditation time of deep breathing before bedtime to aid in my stress level and disturbed sleeping pattern. I also wish to concentrate on self-care. A focus on maintaining a normal exercise program of at least forty minutes four times a week will also be implemented.
If implemented correctly, I should be able to achieve several goals with my plan. Theoretically, my grades will improve with organization and careful planning. I will be able to read all assigned readings for every class. A calendar with a daily schedule will be implemented to calculate time available for each subject, free time, and stress management time. I plan to have ten minutes every other day before bedtime for deep breathing exercises to minimize stress. Given a decrease in stress levels my interrupted sleep should decrease to only once a night. I will concentrate on making time for exercise to stay consistent. I will at least be able to work out an average of four times a week for a minimum of forty minutes.