Monday, 18 February 2008

Taking Liberties...

Today was my last shift in Eye Casualty, and what a shift it turned out to be. Fortunately there was no bad practice to report this week. Not from a member of the nursing team anyway...

A hefty volume of patients streamed through the doors this morning, many of whom required treatment from the doctor. He was due to turn up at around 09:30.

At 09:50 an air of concern was floating around the department not only for the doctor's welfare, but also for ours as the patients were beginning to become aggressively twitchy. Usually there are two doctors working on a Monday morning, but one was on A/L so it was pretty important that the other doctor arrived pronto before the patients started hurling things at us in an angry manner. So the doctor was telephoned. Where was he?

In bed. Apparently he'd booked the day as A/L but had failed to tell the department. So, we had around 30 patients needing to see the doctor, but no doctor.


Fortunately, three other doctors were drafted in from elsewhere in the department and saw all the patients in under an hour. Thankgoodness for teamwork!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Exciting Times Ahead

I am happy to report that my OSCE went rather well. I landed the patient with an asthma attack, and felt I managed it quite efficiently. The only thing I unfortunately did not do, was check for any contraindications before putting the patient on oxygen. So that's 1/2 a mark off. I think it's safe to assume I achieved the 12/20 needed to pass. Glad it's over with!

And on the subject of good news, my paper on dementia and pre-registration education has been accepted by the University and I shall be presenting it to the School of Nursing in June. I received a form today asking me lots of questions such as my qualifications (at last! Something to indicate my BTh status!), learning outcomes for my presentation, and a short biography. Thankgoodness they don't want a picture too...

I have been extremely fortunate to receive the support of Linda Nazarko, an independent nurse consultant who has spent 33 years working with older people, particularly in nursing homes. She has written and published many pieces of work, regularly contributes to popular nursing journals, is an RCN fellow and has also received an OBE. It's such a blessing to be given such a high level of encouragement and support. Mentors and lecturers at University can appear at times to have lost the 'spark' they once had for the job, and become a little disillusioned. It's so encouraging that after 33 years in the NHS, one can still be passionate and excited about nursing. So this could all be the start of a piece of my work being published, which Linda has also offered her help with.

Amazing! I'm obviously jolly excited and rather than go to bed and get some kip before my 12 hour shift tomorrow, I'd like to complete my paper. All in good time...

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Coughing up Biro

Tomorrow is loombing large and I'm not feeling jolly: it's the dreaded Objective Structured Clinical Examination...

The aim? To assess a "patient" in ten minutes to determine whether the problem is respiratory, cardiovascular or neurological and to explain/discuss any relevant nursing interventions. Not all bad, and actually quite an enjoyable challenge, but for some reason that stop-watch turns me into a quivering wreck. In contrast to that, I know I'll have to refrain from laughing should I get a patient with hypoglycemia (acting in a drunk, aggitated manner) or a patient with a PE (supposedly coughing up blood, but the prop tissue is actually covered with red biro).

That said, it will certainly be interesting to see the efforts people have made to look smart. Ironed uniforms, polished shoes and neat hair will be a thing of the past a few weeks into our next placement. I'd better find my ironing board... ;)

Sunday, 3 February 2008

A Not So Dire Emergency

As a child I was taught that 999 was a very important number used in emergencies only, to the extent that I would still be very cautious of dialing it now for fear of jamming the phone line and preventing a real emergency call from being answered.

It would appear that many people don't quite share the same perspective. I've heard all manner of outrageous stories; people phoning 999 for the date, the local B&Q number, period pain...

This week a patient was brought into Eye Casualty by ambulance having dialed 999 because she had conjunctivitis.

Give me strength!!

Friday, 1 February 2008

Dementia Poll

Now that the sheer excitement of my eye retrieval drama has subsided, I am working on a paper to present at our School of Nursing Conference in June. The conference is focusing on pre-registration education and my paper is all about dementia.

Without regurgitating the entirity of my paper here, let me enlighten you with a few statistics...

With around 163,000 new diagnoses being made annually dementia has been described as “one of the greatest challenges for medicine, nursing and society in the twenty-first century”. Dementia predominantly affects the elderly and as the number of people aged over 65 years is expected to increase by more than 60% in the next 25 years, it is not unrealistic to expect the number of dementia diagnoses being made to increase. In fact, while an estimated 700,000 people are currently diagnosed with dementia, this figure is expected to increase to one million by 2025.

That's a lot of people, eh? As we've received absolutely no education on dementia at university, the conclusion for my paper is that they need to provide some! Obviously we need to engage in independent learning, but if such a crucial area of health care is being ignored by lecturers it gives the impression that it isn't very important which belittles those with dementia (it also didn't help that our one lecture on Alzheimer's was cancelled and never rescheduled).

I'll get off my high horse now :)

I'd be interested to know, however, what your education in dementia has been like - send me a post or complete the poll.

Thank you!