Thursday, 8 May 2008

Day Number Three

A day of ups and downs, really.

The ward was understaffed (don't worry, I've reported such shocking news to Fleet Street and no doubt it will be on every front page come tomorrow. Not.) which left me at something of a loose end. I feared being used as a spare pair of hands, which isn't completely terrible, depending what my hands are tasked to do. But then Damn-Good-Nurse stepped into the fray.

DGN is a part of a dying breed, sadly. Educated in most aspects of the medical science and very skilled, with a lovely character to boot, DGN hates their job, they confided in me later in the day.

More on them later. DGN, suffice to say, voiced concerns about using my as a unskilled runaround and made sure I got some actual learning done, which is a refreshing change. They half-apologised for asking me to do observations, which was ridiculously sweet of them. They later told me that they had been used as a dogsbody for their 3 years training, basically, and didn't want it to happen to more students, which I fully support.

So, I got to jump on with an IV Nurse, being taught the newest ANTT (anti-septic non-touch technique) as well as other hand hints and tips. I learnt from this nurse that, apparently, no student from my University is allowed to administer IV drugs at any point in the course. Good fucking idea. So we learn it when? I, I have been reassured, will be doing it, rules or not.

I practised writing, MRSA-screening, and got a chance to talk to some of the patients, which is a great change. But the plight of DGN stayed with me all day.

They are, as mentioned, a damn good nurse. Caring yet hard-nosed when they need to be. Skilled and good under mounting pressure. But this nurse wants to leave the job. They tell me the police pay better and support their staff more. Hence they may switch public services. Now, don't get me wrong, we need good police officers, too, so it's not as if DGN would be going to work for QVC, but it'd be a sad loss. Particuarly when it comes to the other member of staff on this morning.

Newly Qualified Rookie (NQR) is exactly what it says on their tin. Yes, officially they are a registered nurse and are deployed as such. Their skills are usually lacking, and their ability to work under pressure stands up to little scrutiny. Although in this case NQR is enthusiastic, their inability to deal with the job meant that DGN has to take more patients than usual (we were one registered nurse down, remember) adding stress to DGN and increasing their rate of burn out.

It really is a crying shame. I've met other DGNs before (although not as many as I'd like) as well as other NQR. I hope never to be as ill suited as most of the NQRs, and am sure I will one day I will become a DGN, although hopefully without the hatred of the job.

DGN really challenged my views today. They are the sort of nurse I would like to be, and yet they admit to hating the job and wanting to leave. Whereas members of staff like NQR or Usually-Found-Gossiping-At-The-Nurse-Station (UFGatNS. Bit of a mouthful) seem to be in the majority. DGN doesn't think you can do real nursing as a nurse anymore, all the fun, caring jobs dispatched to the Support Workers. If staffing levels were higher then nurses could do a bit more nursing, but they're not. Not yet. Still, I know - even if they don't - that DGN helps people recover and improves their lives. And that is, after all, why I'm still in this game.

No comments: