Friday, 29 June 2007

How Rude!

A busy morning in Endoscopy today, particularly as some assessors came in to make sure the Unit is meeting the Key Skills Framework. The cleaners have been in to buff the floor, trollies are sparkling, and some staff members have even had hair cuts!

It's been a tough morning though. My mentor and I assisted the Nurse Practitioner with her list of patients requiring a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy. This is usually a fairly quick list but today we examined several unwell patients. One was thought to have quite a serious rectal cancer, another was in a great deal of pain, and another required lots of banding for haemorrhoids. Then the rude patient popped up...

He was pacing around the waiting area in his gown and dressing gown. I went over to introduce myself and apologised for the delay in his appointment. I informed him that the Nurse Practitioner would be with him shortly (surely it's ok to have a toilet break? Evidently not). This wasn't good enough.

"I've been abandoned here for over an hour! It's not good enough. This is dreadful service. When am I going to be seen?"

I did want to tell him the extent of what we'd seen that morning - the massive cancer growth in an elderly gentleman's rectal passage - serious things which cause the procedure to take longer. There are many patients in much worse health than him. Instead, I explained again that the Nurse Practitioner would be with him shortly to complete the consent form and begin the procedure. I did consider telling him that she was actually having a wee but I'm not convinced that she would have thanked me for that! I was snarled at, but remained polite and ended our conversation. As soon as the Nurse Practitioner approached he was sweet as pie. Grrr!

It's interesting how the other three patients who were actually unwell were lovely and very polite, whereas this chap who, incidentally, had nothing wrong, was jolly rude. That seems to be the way it goes in hospitals; the sicker the patient, the more appreciative and thankful they are.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

One of the Hardest Parts of the Job

A patient was brought up to Endoscopy today to have a PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) feed fitted. He is unable to swallow for himself and is currently being fed through an NG tube. However, due to his circumstances the Consultant felt it would be more appropriate for him to have a PEG.

The patient is a University student from another area of the country, bought here because his parents live locally. Several weeks ago he fell 9ft and landed on concrete. Obviously, he suffered massive head injuries. Currently he is responsive when spoken to, is able to look around the room and although he can move all four limbs, his mobility is severely limited. He is unable to speak.

By his bed on the ward he has photographs of his Uni friends and his housemates. It broke my heart to see how unwell he was. It's at times like this that you wish you had some magic cure to put everything right. But the best I could do for him was to protect his dignity - clean his face after the procedure, change and straighten out his bedding, and try to place him in a comfortable position. All the negative elements of the job completely fade away when you meet a patient who is really in need of your care.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Smiles all 'round

It's my first week on placement on the Endoscopy Unit and so far, things are going well. The staff are very friendly which makes all the difference.

Yesterday I observed an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Actually, that's rather an understatement - I observed five in a row and assisted where I could. It's a lengthy procedure made all the more uncomfortable by the lead aprons we had to wear. So as you can imagine, we were somewhat irritated when the Consultant popped out and returned for the last patient, late, and with a coffee in hand. We were all gasping for a drink at this point, so imagine our joy when the Consultant accidentally knocked his coffee over right in the path of his laptop!

Ok, so that's a little mean but hey - it made the patient smile.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Procrastination rules O.K.

I feel I should be a little more stressed considering my workload. However, this afternoon I took something of a lengthy break from studying and decided to get "snap-happy"! The subject? A couple of my plants. Pictures taken include the following:

There we have it - a few hours of procrastination, and now it's back to work!

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff


Today I feel completely uninspired with nursing. I have five assignments to do:

- A 4000 word literature review which is fine, although my tutor seems to have disappeared from the face of the planet. Helpful.

- Three assignments which are all fairly good, but they can't be started until I begin my next placement. That means on top of completing 60-odd placement competencies I have these flippin' assignments to do!

- An exciting poster presentation plus supporting assignment as I missed a placement at the beginning of this year due to surgery. This is the work to go with the placement, and I can't go through to the third year until I complete it. It would have been helpful to know this back in January. What good is it telling me three months before the end of the year?! At the time of writing, I am currently waiting to be given an assessment date.

The work is fine and I have no problem with doing it. What I do have a problem with is the lack of support from the tutors. They just don't seem interested. Trying to arrange a tutorial is like banging your head against a brick wall!

Regardless of all the trials and tribulations that go with this course, I do enjoy it and look forward to becoming a registered nurse. I don't think the path to registration should be easy, but I do think we should be better supported. So many people have left our cohort due to all sorts of reasons; finance and lack of support being big ones. Perhaps this is the University's/NHS's way of separating the wheat from the chaff. Problem is, it seems to be the "wheat" who are leaving...

I used to have a fantastic job at John Lewis; great hours, great pay and a very good discount. I could buy Radley bags at a great price! Instead, I have chosen to sacrifice myself on the alter of the nation's health.

I think I'd rather have a new Radley bag :)

Friday, 15 June 2007

The Curse of the Drunkard

What is it with me? Do I have some kind of aura that specifically attracts inebriated, middle-aged men? Since starting my nurse training I have encountered more worryingly drunk men than I care to remember. I always seem to find them alone, often by the side of the road or in some other place which could prove dangerous, and when I least expect it. Today was no exception.

Whilst waiting at the station for a train, I noticed a gentleman "wobbling" around on the platform. He held himself up against the wall and looked as if he was struggling to breath. Not something I like to see, particularly as my mind heads straight for cardiac/respiratory arrest! A few people looked at him for a while and then walked on. I felt that as a responsible student nurse (and as I had about half an hour to wait until my train was due to arrive) I thought I'd better make sure he was ok.

Of course, other than being intoxicated, the gentleman was fine. Whilst breathing his alcohol-fuelled breath in my face, he explained that he was on his way to Manchester. He told me a great deal about his time in the army, had the sheer ordacity to drink some of my cappuccino in an attempt to sober up (which he then spat out - what a waste!) and explained again that he was on his way to Manchester. He then grabbed me and kissed me on the forehead, all while trying not to fall smack-bang into a brick wall. Oh, and did I know that he was on his way to Manchester?

What should one do upon finding a person in such a state? The last drunken gentleman I found (apparently christened "Shauny-Boy") was trying to jump in front of the traffic so I had no option but to dial 999 for some muscular assistance! But if I was working in A&E, what would I do with some drunk bloke bought in simply because there wasn't anywhere else to take him? Sedate him and hook him up to some fluids? Go off shift?! Answers on a postcard...

Thursday, 14 June 2007

The Blog Begins

My first post as a "blogger"! Having become engrossed in the blogs of others, I felt it time to start my own. It probably would have been better to start blogging at the beginning of my nurse training, but clearly I wasn't on the ball. So, almost two years into my training, I have now decided to get on with it.

And what an eventful two years it has been. I have been punched in the face by a patient whilst on my Mental Health placement, assisted in a post-mortem and fainted twice during a shift in Maternity (babies? Eugh!). I've been mentored by an interesting selection of registered nurses including one who felt it appropriate to tell me all the gritty details of her affair (not a conversation to use as Reflective Discussion evidence, obviously), and one who landed me with the task of teaching 6 classes of 12 year old kids how to put condoms on a plastic penis. The wearing of beer-goggles was an optional extra. Who knows what fun I shall partake in on my next placement?

Until then, I shall trudge on with this semester's five assignments so lovingly set by the University.

It's ok; I didn't want a social life anyway...