New Year, New Tricks…

For a range of reasons there were no posts on this blog in 2020. The main reason was that I’d felt less and less comfortable writing about anything a clinician academic. Because, I no longer felt like one. Not since 09/2019.

There. I’ve said it. Took me 16 months and a good dose of heavy duty coaching to be able to say it confidently. But now that I have, I am glad I have

There’s been plenty posts in this blog about the clinician academic identity. Questioning it, reflecting on, feeling uneasy about it. I’d also argue that our fear of losing that identity (or more precisely, losing the ”clinician” bit of the identity) is one of the most common topics people discuss. It’s also one of few areas where we can turn on one another – who is ”in” and who is ”out”? What is a proper clinician academic? And so on. You all know what I’m talking about.

It feels good not to have to worry about that anymore, and not to have to fear it losing it. For I cannot lose what I think I no longer have. It’s not been an easy process, and some sadness remains. And there’s of course a lot more I could – but I won’t. Maybe another time.

So what’s the tricks for 2021? Well, I’ve thought long and hard about archiving this blog. Put it in some dusty old corner of the World Wide Web that we can visit every now and then. But I’ve decided not to do that. Not yet anyway. Writing this blog, and chatting about it with others is simply too enjoyable to retire it. It gives a different format for our collective conversations. It’s an opportunity to share in a different way (guest posts remain very welcome!). And it helps me reflect on this strange world we live in.

I think we’ll let this blog evolve, grow and diversify – like a clinician academic would. We’ll hopefully have a next generation of ”proper” clinician academics who’ll want to post here. And I’m still fairly heavily involved in various strategic clinical academic developments – which might be fun to share.

And I think there’s a lot more to reflect on in the academic life. PhD and early post-docs are only a start, and the more of us progress ”on the other side of a PhD” the more we’ll need those subsequent options of that career direction demystified. There’ll be more and more of us reflecting on the further stages of clinical academic career. Including the side turns where we may have to radically change roles, and reframe identities.

Ultimately, I feel that all of us involved in this clinical academic business – with what ever roles we have – benefit from a shared space. So let’s see what tricks we’ll collectively come up with in 2021.

And if it all fails, a dusty archive is always still an option 😂.

Are changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.

From as soon as one goes anywhere near the clinical academic step ladder one is told that funders look for leaders, and that one needs to start to become one. From there on it becomes a case of developing one’s leadership skills, competencies and roles. Yet, ironically, I never expected to arrive to the point of actually being one.

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“PhD? Nice! (But what is it?)”

I feel we’ve sold PhD as an idea to AHPs. I also feel the next challenge is for AHPs en masse to figure out what a PhD is, and what to do with people who have them. 

I feel that seeking to do a PhD is now largely viewed positively among AHPs, and there is a genuine acceptance that having a PhD is (somehow) a positive thing. I still do hear some occasional mocking, and some unwelcome comments, e.g. about people with PhDs having a different brain size than the rest of the humans, but in my experience people making these comments are now a minority and are seen as making a fool of themselves more than representing a condoned majority view.

What seems to have changed much less is how AHPs understand what a PhD is (what does it make the person competent for), and how we can make use of people with PhDs to advance our practice, knowledge and impact. 

Over the next 12 months I’d like to take further steps to change this. To move more towards a point where people actually understand what PhDs are good for (and what they are not). To this end, I will run some dedicated posts to explore the question of “What do people with PhDs do once they finish their PhD – and what more could they do given a chance?”.

I am particularly hoping to publish posts by people who are at least 4-5 years beyond completing a PhD (but pre-Professors). That is because I want to focus on the experiences of people who are in full swing of hard core crafting of contributions to AHP practice, science and future (and skip the early post-PhD haze phase….).

If this is you, and you’d be willing to write a post – please do email/tweet me and let’s make a plan for your contribution!

Happy, and very exciting, 2017 to everyone! ☺