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President's Blog: Healthcare Science Olympics



Well, I’m sure many of you are relieved that the Olympics is now over, not just because we have exceeded Team GB’s medal target, but that you can go to bed at a decent time for a good night’s sleep and not be lured into staying up until 2:00am watching Taekwondo, Archery on Beach Volley Ball!

Personally, I wasn’t initially interested in watching events from “halfway around the globe” in the “middle of the night”, but I have to say, partly because of the high quality coverage and editing, I became gradually more and more interested in the competitions, and especially  the Olympian’s and their personalities.  What makes ordinary people strive for excellence and achievement? What can Healthcare Scientists learn from the Olympics to help our day to day work?

Firstly, I was impressed by the level of collectiveness, belonging to one team and supporting each other, despite having different backgrounds and training in such a variety of sports. As Healthcare Scientists in at least 52 different professions, we all share some common training, but it’s in the implementation of our scientific services that we deliver excellent patient centred care, using best standards and maintaining the highest quality.

Secondly, it was refreshing to see that the apparent “barriers” of politics, race, creed and class seemed to be totally irrelevant when you are all pulling together to do the best you can as a single team – Team GB.  Furthermore, our prejudices, biases and attitudes change when we see our fellow humans from all nations on the earth, aspire, achieve, fail, win, re-try and exceed expectation. These very human qualities are the same feelings we endure every working day of our lives.

We can learn from our Olympians, that striving for the best, believing in ourselves and building our self-confidence is what makes us all great.  We should learn from each other and teach our juniors that being part of a team of Healthcare Scientists is worthwhile and beneficial.  The long dark “winters” of training and development can be rewarded in the “summer” of an aspiring career and becoming leaders. Even more exciting is to become a leader and train the next generation of “champions in our own professions.

Now that Rio 2016 is over, I am left feeling a mix of pride, well-being, enthusiasm and encouragement for the future.  In many aspects of my life I want to (just like Olympians) improve myself 10% across the board in everything – work efficiency, general fitness, body weight and take up long-abandoned hobbies and interests to improve my mental health too. The Olympics may hopefully press a “re-set” button in us all to get our scientific life back on course for Gold.  It doesn’t matter if we don’t get the gold medal – it really is the “participating” to the best of our ability that makes us good Healthcare Scientists. To all healthcare colleagues – go and achieve your goal, aim to be the best in your profession but remember you are a member of “Scientific Team GB” too and contribute to our future through the Academy.

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