Thursday, 22 November 2007

First Impressions

So, how am I finding things?

My time seemed to be no longer my own from Monday to Wednesday afternoon, which is to say I wasn't ready for the timing of my shifts one bit. After that slight stumbling block, I've had a pretty smooth journey - although if we're talking about my bike rides to and from hospital, especially in the rain, the word 'smooth' becomes a bit... well. Wrong.

To not divulge too many details I'm currently on placement at a ward dealing with brain injuries, which is a very challenging environment in several senses of the word. The senior nurse assigned to be my mentor hasn't been around for these first few days (I meet them properly on my imminent late shift) so I've been shadowing a recently qualified staff nurse, who, apart from having a much cooler uniform than me, is a very good person to learn from. I honestly thought I'd be watching and watching and watching a bit more, but I've been involved from my first shift pretty much, which feels like a good thing.

Personally, the biggest problem I've come up against is the inability to blag. That is to say I'm quite a confident sort of guy, all in all. And confidence is the older brother of blagging: pretending you know how to do something or about something when you really don't. Not only would attempting this on a ward be stupid due to my lack of knowledge, it'd be downright dangerous, so I don't and can't. That being said, I've had to change my style a little bit, but it's working well. Being open to learning and making mistakes is a pretty solid learning framework.

I've been gifted good patients, to be fair, which has helped. By the fickle phrase of 'good', in this case, I am referring to their levels of independence and therefore reliance on nursing care. I am very lucky to have given this less intense start to my placement, and at the risk of breaking down patients to easier to deal with qualities, it's helped me get my feet wet, so to speak.

So what else have I learned?

After one late and then one early shift, with 8 miles bike riding in between just for fun (I spend a tenner on bike lights so I look like a total safety loser mixed with someone off to a rave at 6 in the morning), I was left in an insatiable good mood with bags of energy - a trend I hope continues for a long time.

Working in healthcare is just as glamorous as I thought it'd be, i.e. not a huge amount. Ha. Only joking. I'm a total geek so getting to use complicated words and abbreviations just presses my buttons, sometimes. Plus you get to go on ward rounds, much like the popular American comedy Scrubs. Although rounds are not full of hilarious interns and cantankerous consultants, they're still fun. You get to laugh about doctors generally being silly and nurses being great, which is clearly always (Maybe not) the case.

The sense of well being is probably the best thing. Although effectively I'm not getting paid for this work, I actually feel good about the stuff I do, so far, as a 'job'. When someone asks me to do something menial I know it's actually for the good of a human being or two, and not to make some dickhead a little bit more profit, and so I do it gladly.

So. So far? So good. I hope the trend continues.

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