Are you as good as you think you are? St.Emlyn’s at SMACC

Are you as good as you think you are smacc chicago carley

With just one week to go before the much anticipated SMACC conference in Dublin the St.Emlyn’s team are prepping, packing and pontificating through our final presentations and plans for what looks to be a fantastic week.


If you didn’t already know, the conference will be held at the International Conference centre on the banks of the Liffey in Ireland. This is a special place for St.Emlyn’s as it’s there, during the ICEM 2012 conference, that this blog was created after listening to, and meeting the helpful, inspiring and all round top chap Mike Cadogan. Four years later we’re still going strong as active and grateful members of the #FOAMed community. Our thanks to everyone who has helped us get this far (and there are so many).

You might think that we might think that we have this cracked and that the blog has been a success, but in all honesty we suffer from the same feeling of impostor syndrome that pretty much everyone else does (if you don’t then great – but I don’t believe you). It becomes particularly intense in the lead up to a big conference. Will the talk go well? Will anyone turn up to my session? Will I get singled out on twitter and will the trolls have another go?

It will probably all be fine. All SMACC speakers work hard on their presentations and we’re no exception. Only this morning Natalie May, myself and Iain Beardsell got together via Skype to talk through and feedback on our talks. An incredibly helpful, but quite challenging few hours with tough feedback that only true friends can give. We will be prepared, and yet the doubts persist.

It’s therefore quite timely that one of my talks from SMACC Chicago went live on the Intensive Care Network this week. The theme was ‘Are you as good as you think you are’ and the link to the podcast and slides is here.

Podcast – ICU Network. Carley: Are you as good as you think you are?

The bottom line is that it’s really tough to know how good you are without looking hard and  getting help. The personal picture that we create in our minds, about how we are perceived by others, is almost certainly a very different one to our friends, family, colleagues and patients.

As an example just stop and think about your own physical image. If you think about it you never never see yourself as others see you. Look in a mirror and it’s a reversed image, a photo or video is 2D an even 3D filming is clearly not the same. You can experiment with a non-reversing mirror which gives a true reflection, and if you do it’s quite an unnerving experience (and not exactly portable) but beyond that you never see yourself as the world sees you. Our internal image is different and yet if we are to improve our performance we really need to know how others see us.

Non reversing mirrors. The only way to see your true self.

So this talk was delivered at SMACC to ask us to stop and think about our abilities, our judgement and our perceptions. Perhaps I put this together as I sometimes feel that it’s all too easy to get ahead of ourselves in the world of Social Media and #FOAMed, it can sometimes seem that everyone is awesome, all patients get an RSI and even the ankle sprains get REBOA. Of course that’s not true and our personal journey of improvement is somewhat less exciting, though no less important.

This talk was an opportunity to invite us all to think about reflection, calibration and some fair, honest and tough feedback that will make us better clinicians and educators.

For those heading to Dublin, please, please, please come say hi. The greatest thing about conferences is meeting people and I, and the St.Emlyn’s team would love to meet as many of you as we can.



Before you go please don’t forget to…


Cite this article as: Simon Carley, "Are you as good as you think you are? St.Emlyn’s at SMACC," in St.Emlyn's, June 4, 2016,

2 thoughts on “Are you as good as you think you are? St.Emlyn’s at SMACC”

  1. Pingback: Global Intensive Care | Are you as good as you think you are? St.Emlyn’s at SMACC

  2. Pingback: Bringing the Outdoor Classroom Indoors - #smaccFORCE

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