Plus Delta evaluation is a formative evaluation process that provides feedback on an experience or event and collects ideas for future improvements. It is framed in “improvement” language rather than language that might be experienced negatively. The plus identifies what went well. The delta identifies what might be changed to improve a process or particular activity.

That’s education speak. For the rest of us novices, this is a blog that I have started to open dialogue about life outside medicine. I’ve often wondered how other health professionals managed their work life balance. I work part-time as an Emergency Physician, educator and mother because I don’t really think you can have it all and be truly happy. Something’s got to give. I have learnt much from impromptu conversations with my medical and nursing friends, colleagues and acquaintances along my journey.

My life has been ‘delta’ for a majority of it with occasional ‘pluses’, but there’s always ‘delta’.

The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine recently circulated a survey about burnout. I recently cut down on many aspects of work and family activities because I was becoming that person that I never thought i would be. Close to burnout. I completed the survey on a good day. I felt good about it. What if I had completed the survey 2 months ago. Some of the responses would have been quite different. So what practical protective strategies are there that we can use to cope? And what if your partner/family are not in healthcare – how much do they really understand? What do trainees or other students in health do out there? This is a vital part of the hidden curriculum that many of us have missed out on in university.

So I’m going to tackle some of these questions with your help. Along the way, I’ll include top 5 (or even 10 as backup) suggestions to boost the happiness factor. Yes, that does include Melbourne’s best child friendly cafes, hottest new restaurants, must-know shopping sites and the latest exercise craze because we know these things makes us happy. So please send me suggestions to help make this successful.