How essential is life experience as a trainee?

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How essential is life experience as a trainee?

Postby trainee1996 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:20 pm

Hi there. Sorry if this is in the wrong section - the subsections on the forum seem quite arbitrary!

Basically, I am starting the course this year, having just turned 21. I believe I have good knowledge of the NHS, the role of a CP and good communication skills (i.e., I meet the job requirements).

However, I feel like I don't have enough life experience for the role, which doesn't put me off at all - it just makes me think it may be slightly harder. For example, I've never been in a serious relationship, don't have children, experienced too much loss etc... I am aware that most trainees/aspiring trainees are quite a bit older than me and have had experiences as APs and RAs and so on (I have had a lot of experience already, though) which also have helped them grow as people.

I personally feel like I'll be OK as the job is a lot to do with applying scientific evidence to a person's problems, rather than having experienced such problems yourself. But let me know what you think :)

Thanks,
Beth
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Re: How essential is life experience as a trainee?

Postby Midlandia » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:07 pm

I knew a brilliant CP who got on the course straight out of undergraduate training. She was fantastic and well-regarded in the department. I think the only "unusual" problem she had in comparison to older CPs was managing (some) APs who were older than her, and who struggled personally with the issues her "early" (for want of a better word) success raised for them.

Congrats on your place! :D
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Re: How essential is life experience as a trainee?

Postby secret squirrel » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:06 pm

trainee1996 wrote:I personally feel like I'll be OK as the job is a lot to do with applying scientific evidence to a person's problems, rather than having experienced such problems yourself.


eek. i think the job is first to be a human being, to listen to people's stories, to let their experiences touch you and respond authentically... i mean some courses may not share that view...!

i am just imagining someone applying scientific evidence to my problems and how that might make me feel.

good advice for everyone is to approach people/clients with humility. they have as much to teach you, as you have to teach them. i guess particularly pertinent if you feel you have not (yet?) shared the same experiences as them.

so in short it is not necessarily a hindrance, but - since you asked! - you may need to do extra work at trying to imagine the client's perspective, what things feel like from a powerless position, etc. if you work hard at this, you will be a better CP than many!
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Re: How essential is life experience as a trainee?

Postby firegal » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:04 am

The reality is that no matter how old you are when you get on training you are going to meet and work with clients with different life experiences to you, it's something everyone will come across. I was 27 when I started training, I've never been married, I don't have children, I don't have a chronic health condition, I don't consider myself to have a disability, I've never lost a family member I was close to, but in my time in support roles and training I have worked with people who have experienced all these things. The important thing is listening and understanding what that experience means to them, in that sense you may find that not carrying as many prior experiences and preconceptions with you might even be an advantage!
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Re: How essential is life experience as a trainee?

Postby mungle » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:20 am

IMHO the best thing for training was to have developed good emotional and self-awareness and reflectiveness and I found personal therapy helpful in nurturing these (amongst other benefits!).
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Re: How essential is life experience as a trainee?

Postby Alexander » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:53 pm

I strongly second Mungle's reply. I believe your question (will my age make it harder - however harder is defined) is essentially unanswerable. We can each provide some reflection on our own experience but whether that informs yours is for you to decide. Personally, I have found my age (32 on acceptance) helpful - but I would say that, wouldn't I? One benefit of age is that it gives you time to learn more about yourself. But that is not an automatic process.
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Re: How essential is life experience as a trainee?

Postby trainee1996 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:18 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
trainee1996 wrote:I personally feel like I'll be OK as the job is a lot to do with applying scientific evidence to a person's problems, rather than having experienced such problems yourself.


eek. i think the job is first to be a human being, to listen to people's stories, to let their experiences touch you and respond authentically... i mean some courses may not share that view...!

i am just imagining someone applying scientific evidence to my problems and how that might make me feel.

good advice for everyone is to approach people/clients with humility. they have as much to teach you, as you have to teach them. i guess particularly pertinent if you feel you have not (yet?) shared the same experiences as them.

so in short it is not necessarily a hindrance, but - since you asked! - you may need to do extra work at trying to imagine the client's perspective, what things feel like from a powerless position, etc. if you work hard at this, you will be a better CP than many!

I didn't say applying scientific evidence to patients' problems is the utmost important thing, however, it's an extremely important aspect of CP (in my opinion). Hence why therapies are evidence-based.

Thanks for everyone's replies, they've been something to think about :)
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Re: How essential is life experience as a trainee?

Postby gazdavies » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:07 am

Hi Beth,
I'd say the range of experiences you have, and how you are able to reflect on them so that they are of use to you, is the most important element. I have found in general that a wide range of life experiences have made me a lot more comfortable in relating to people one on one, but that doesn't mean I'd necessarily generate any better solutions than you. Possibly generating rapport and such is easier with a wider or greater number of 'interactions' but if lots of people say you are a 'people person', then you're going to be just fine. That's the main thing life experience gives you bit by bit I think :-) I come from a social work background and the touchy-feely soft-skills side was really useful for reflection, but I feel I had most of those skills already, just became a lot more comfortable using them through practice.

Hope that helps
Gaz
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Re: How essential is life experience as a trainee?

Postby gazdavies » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:09 am

As an addition I'd also say the selection process is rigorous and brutal! If you've got through it at your age, the selectors must have a LOT of faith in you, so fear not, I'm sure you're going to be great!
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