Tuesday, 27 January 2009

A List Of DO NOTs For Nurses

Do Not....

Go to work after only and hour and a half's sleep
Hit on the doctor
Stick the 'finger' up at your boss
Think cheek towards co-workers is a form of communication
Turn up late then disappear to a clinic appointment with a patient
Accuse the consultant of being sexist because he comments on 'women drivers'
Make jokes about impacted bowels
Agree with anything you don't understand
Hit on the doctor (oops said that already... well it needs to be said)
Try to work without some form of caffeine in your system

Friday, 23 January 2009


OK well we have a 3 year old with a smoking habit and his mother dragged up in front of court. The kid was filmed by his mother's friend because she was worried about him. Apparently the film clip shows him lighting a butt with a lighter and inhaling. Now come on if that was a kid showing off by coping then her would have been coughing, or better still wouldn't have gotten a lighter to work. I know I was 5 when my dad taught me about matches and lighters. He's a smoker and if lighters and matches were going to litter the house then I better be able to do it without setting fire to the place.
That kid had skill that no other 3 year old would (or should) have. The kid had done it before. Ergo the kid had a habit.

Then we have a nurse who was struck off the register for killing her husband with an axe. Actually the WTF stems from the fact that she is now wanting to be put back on the register. I understand the background of domestic abuse and that he had done something like fathering a child with his niece or her niece or something. But really would you want a nurse who has a past conviction like that? We are never supposed to judge our patients but I know for a fact that they would judge us and her name is all over the BBC website's stories. I assume that the NMC will stand by their decision. It's all up to the high courts to make a decision. The NMC's on shaky enough ground with the public and it members without dragging this through the press too.

Thursday, 22 January 2009


Oh heck we're in for it now. It getting time for us to register. Course my paperwork isn't in yet and apparently my portfolio is part of the crowd that's getting taken in. I'll be working on it for the next week solid to get it up to scratch. I do not like external examiners. It's not a personal thing, just a 'stop staring at my work' thing.

I'm afraid of being in charge of anything greater than my goldfish. I did not study for 3 years to get this far and to bottle it now!

Now is the time to get off my backside and get going. Time to grow up and pull on the big girl uniform.

Ah sod it 1 more week of being a student won't hurt........

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Why Do We Do What We Do?

...or why get into nursing in the first place?
I was reading Julie's blog over @ Life in the NHS. there she was innocently talking about a conference and mixing wines. When it all got semi-hijacked in the comments...
I would like your honest opinion. I am registered to begin a PgDip in Adult Nursing. It seems fairly random to ask your advice but when I put in ‘life in the nhs’, ‘nurse’ and ‘mother’ into google this site comes up! I have some concerns about nursing and would like the opinion of an experienced nurse. I am concerned about how nursing fits into family life, but also general career prospects and job satisfaction. I have to say, I read the 2005 RCN report into conditions for nurses and it made sobering reading! My family are concerned about work-life balance and want me to think very carefully, but I’m finding it difficult to get the advice I need. Please help!
Many thanks,

Oh see I have to stick my oar in now....
Hi Amy,
I think you are wise to think carefully before embarking on a career like nursing. This is an exciting but volatile and changing time to be starting on this particular career pathway. Nursing can be a rewarding and exciting career. There has never been a better time to push the boundaries of what nursing is about, but at the same time many (including nurses) believe this puts pressure on the ability of nurses to perform the basic and fundamental skills of nursing. The most important aspect of these are caring, listening, communicating and providing care. There are jobs available in many areas of work which means that it is possible to work full time, part time, to work at night or during the daytime. Acute care has become more stressful and demanding, work in the community more dynamic and acute focused since people stay in hospital for less of else don’t go there at all. There is also lots of work within prevention and health promotion - this will be increasingly important.
I don’t think nursing conditions are bad. Jobs are pretty secure, but the patient in some way or other needs care over the 24 hour period. We have to be there for the good of our patients not for ourselves. Pension is good, there are good holiday entitlements, paid holiday and sickness - you can do worse and reasonable pay. But it isn’t for everyone, we don’t always make good colleagues for each other and there are good and bad nurses around. I wouldn’t change anything about my career, but then I no longer work at the sharp end.
Hope this ramble helps. I might write a post about some of these points.

Julie's reply is essentially brilliant, it covers all the bases, so why am I sticking my oar in? Well I was commenting anyway.
Hi Amy
I’m about a month from the end of my course and it’s been a real eye opener. I wasn’t clear on what the course was really about when I started. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world but that didn’t stop it being difficult and heartbreaking at times.
However few jobs in this life are as varied and ever changing as nursing. There are hundreds of specialities, different ways of progressing, multiple travel opportunities… There really is a niche for everyone.
If you decide to go for it then you will never regret it and will become evangelical about the benefits. But the sharp end conditions are as they seem. We are stressed and pushed and jaded. While at the same time the greatest voice for our patients and with fight to the death to protect it.
For family life… just remember to leave your work behind when you leave. It’s all too easy to take it home. A lesson I learned only after getting pushed.
Think long and hard. But if it’s your dream go for it!

I do really believe in that. If it's what you've always wanted to do then you should just go for it. Sod the reports, the press, the horror stories. Just do what you want to. So many of us dreamed of being nurses so we're doing what we wanted to do.
Of course there's a lot of people who fell into it but that doesn't make them bad nurses. There are people who dreamed of being nurses but are just not good at it.
It's the hardest training and most stressful in the world but it's also the most rewarding job and it definitely seems to make you a stronger person.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Ranting and Idiots

Honestly how much intelligence does it take to become a member of parliament these days? Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley in Manchester, (Labour party by the way) has called dyslexia 'fiction'. Made up to cover for poor teaching methods and costing the taxpayer thousands.

Well thanks for that! In his column on Manchester Confidential he extols the virtues of synthetic phonics and assumes that better teaching will cure all illiteracy, like it did in the East Dumbartonshire example. Yes we shouldn't have the same high levels of illiteracy that we do and that maybe more flexible teaching practices would help. It might have helped me or, you know, maybe not.

I don’t know about anybody else but I want my doctors, and for that matter, engineers, teachers, dentists and police officers to be able to read and write.
Hey Graham, look, I'm dyslexic and (your worst fear it seems) nearly a qualified nurse. I can read and write but there's far more to it than my garbage spelling. OK here's the thing to get a degree or diploma or pass the entrance exams you kind of have to be able to read and write. In fact it's kind of hard to get into college or uni without being able to do that.

He went ape about the med student that took the BMA to task about not 'written' exams but multiple choice. See he couldn't even get that right. She likes written exams and essays. I hate them. Easy mistake to make. I even moaned about that then. This isn't even a very original rant for this blog.

The British Dyslexia Association puts it far better than I can...

Mr Stringer needs to realise that dyslexia is not just about reading. Although, being able to read is often problematical for those with dyslexia it also sits alongside a range of other processing skills including organisation, sequencing, retrieval of information, short-term memory, spelling, writing and numbers.

See! See! He also states that dyslexia doesn't seem to appear in the likes of South Korea or Nicaragua. It probably is there of course they don't have one of the most difficult languages to learn and speak as their first language. English is difficult. Look at how many words sound the same but a pronounced differently or vice versa. I would like to see him live one day with my brain.

The problem is of course that I can say all this but my brain has never been 'normal'. It's not like a stroke or heart attack where there is a tangible difference between 'before' and 'after'. I've always been this way. Sometimes I can spot the difference between me and other people, it's awkward especially when they notice the difference. This is why I'm so good these days at compensating. And they wonder why I've learned not to care about doing over time when I've not finished something I said I was going to do.

I'm going to have to take a coffee break..... I'm still mad at this eejit.


You might have noticed the ticker at the top of the posts has changed. It now represents the last shift in placement as opposed to the last day in college. The last day is Wednesday but I'll still have some shifts to finish before the last of my paperwork goes in. Still a bit to go....

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Bad Blogger

I'm a bad blogger. I feel like a haven't updated in forever. Sorry guys I don't mean to do that.
It's been a mad week. I finished my application for camp but at the same time have yet to finish the portfolio that really should be due in a week. Actually it was due on Friday but I missed my lecturer visiting 'cos I was on a back shift and she came at 9 in the morning. It's a mess, placement's a mess... well everything is a mess right now.

There are no funny comments this time. Just little piles of not yet finished work and me doing everything but.

I'll update with something informative tomorrow..... Well I hope so.

Monday, 12 January 2009

A Student's Guide to Consultants

Consultants generally come in 3 flavours...

  • Pain in the ass - Common - comes as standard with the return of the Mr. prefix
  • Funny (or trying to be) - Rare but worrying comment often ensue
  • Up themselves - Becoming rarer through time
I would consider avoiding all of them but you will have to talk to them at some point in your training and working life. So you can easily see which of these you would rather tangle with (get your mind out of the gutter!) but to be honest even the funny ones are dangerous.

Maybe it's a basic fear but to be honest I'd rather go be an idiot in front of the ward's SHO (she's so sweet and maybe I have a tiny bit of a crush there). Of course placement thinks that I should be planted in front of consultants as often as possible as some sort of bizarre immersion therapy. Those poor sods having to suffer me. OK it boils down to this... I wasn't in for 2 days and then they ask (read tell) me to be on the ward rounds for both of our consultants. I'll admit this now, I do not know everything about our 20-something patients. I do know a lot about the 10 patients I spent last week working with and I have a handover. Let's go wing it!

Actually it didn't go too badly. Thank goodness. It could have been so much worse....

Most important lesson about consultants? Avoid or at least be polite.... then run and hide.

Quote from today... (finished talking to patient who's ears are stuffed with olive oil drops)
Doc - Olive oil embolism?
Me - I'll refer him to Gordon Ramsay then.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

I am...

I am the sister who takes no prisoners and the deputy sister who calls it as it is.
I am the nurse who stopped me from walking out and the one who would have let me go.
I am the patient who is walking out smiling...
And the empty bed with a crying family.
I am the test I couldn't pass and the party when I finally did.
I am breakfast at McDonald's after the night shift and start of the shift coffee.
I am those who have taught me and those I have taught.
I am my reflections on practice and the war stories we trade in placement.
I am sim man and the real patients who let me practice on them.
I am the medbloggers who let me see their daily lives online.
I am the placements that have gone before.
But more importantly the final placement and all the staff who work there.
I am who I am because of everything.

(I am an idea entirely taken from this series of Orange ads)

Edit: This was based on my *other* final placement. I may have to rewrite it in light of my *real* final placement. - WB 27/04/2009

Monday, 5 January 2009

Another Meme But...

... I was coerced into it!

You have now entered into a legally binding contract http://tinyurl.com/8ohuop hope you don't mind ;)
Have I mentioned before how much I love these things? Anyway tagged by Mark Hawker. I now have the dubious pleasure of finding another 7 things what you guys don't know about me.
  • Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post - some random, some weird.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter.
We have been down this road before my friends.... First check out the meme posts that have gone before. Back when I passed the 1,000 visitor mark I handed out 100 things about me and granted I padded a few of them out because I started losing the will to live at about the 40 mark.

Some how I've started to think there are not enough things about me to fill another meme. I will try to explain a few things...

1. Back in high school I chose subjects to allow me to go on and do architecture - art, physics, maths and graphic communication. I really don't know where this idea came from. When it came down to accepting an offer from universities I rejected architecture and took physics, planning to become a physics teacher. I had a fantastic physics teacher back in high school which slightly explains this choice. I dropped out of the physics course and bummed about for a bit, during this time I applied for midwifery, although I finally got a place on an adult nursing course.

2. During all this bumming about I did go to camp and I went horse riding in PJs. That is one of my 3 favourite pictures from camp. And now I'm just teasing you all because I won't post it. It was there where I first came out of the closet too and people wonder why I want to go back there... it was the best time of my life so far.

3. I've been a gamer since I was little, well 5. That is not unusual now but was back then and certainly for girls. We had this stupid little hand held game, Mini Munchman, a bit like Pac Man and my brother held the high score till I asked him what HHH meant. The score counter only had 3 digits and after 999 there was only one way to go, HHH. At 5 I had gotten the highest score ever on that little thing. I still have it. (Mine has less scratches though.)

4. I currently have 4 as yet unfinished short stories. 2 Voyager fan fictions (1 is over 13,000 words) , a Doctor Who fan fiction, a romance (ish) short story and an apocalypse (esque) short story (which may turn into a novel length). I do love writing but I am cack at it, and a rarely finish what I start. Much like my art work.

5. I really love nursing and corny as it sounds I feel I've found the right job this time.

6. I keep a journal on top of the blog...


Hit the Ground Running

Back in placement after the holidays and I've missed the place (don't tell them that!). It is just as crazy busy as it was. Course it didn't help that towards the end of the shift when I should have been concentrating my mind was going fuzzy with the cold I've been fighting for the last week. Ever met an asthmatic with a cold? Bear with sore head doesn't cover it. I could still be coughing 2 weeks from now. Mostly I've been dodging colds, it works for the most part. There have been at least 3 go through the different areas where I spend time / work / etc. Most of the year my asthma is asymptomatic (to the point were I stop the meds), which might explain the sudden (and irrational, I will admit that) fear I have when ever I get a cold.
I've come across admissions for exacerbation of COPD (more common in the older generation than asthma) and personally I never wish to have to struggle to breathe like that day in day out. I told a friend of mine to shoot me if I get like that. I am enjoying it messing with people's heads when I give my deathly chest rattle. The fluid build up has moments where it sounds like a death rattle, just before I end up coughing. People just don't expect that of non-smoking young people. Hey I have to take my kicks where I get them.

On the other side I am now a year older! My birthday was yesterday! The birthday fairy brought me a digital photo frame to go with Santa's digital camera. SOOOO cool. Although I don't have them here with me because.....

IT'S NEARLY OVER!!!!!!! 2 weeks and a day!!!!!!!!!!!! that is all that's left of placement. I have huge, huge piles of writing to do for placement and feeling like cack for a week put a dent in my plans to have it all done already. Man, only 15 days to go. I'm scared witless.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

First Foot!

I can't First Foot my own blog. It would be like trying to first foot your own hoose (well I can but it's a long and complicated process involving me leaving the hoose, missing the bells, and freezing my ass in our current sub zero temps) but take this as me first footing yours.
I should be a dark haired male but you know I can't really change that....
But I bring coal (For warmth in the coming year)And a wee dram (So you all will be fed and watered) (I was going to pour a dram but the bottle belongs to my father and he might kill me for opening it.)
See Good Luck for all blogs next year!

Happy 2009 everyone!


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