Thursday, 30 October 2008

Less Excitement

What a difference a few days make. Well, not that much of a difference, truth be told.

My feelings are still mostly positive, but mixed. I very much like talking to patients, and can do so with confidence since I've the experience in cardiology. One of the downsides of the basis of the placement is the constant talks given to the patients. The talks are vital, but I just end up observing, which is dull. The same with exercise classes, which I'm pretty much pointless in, other than helping checking some pulses and blood pressures.

The former part of the job is very interesting, though. My mentor apologises that the interview/assessment part of the job is very much asking the same questions over-and-over. But she is very wise in the sense that she leaves half an hour to an hour for any one-on-one time with patients, which gives them a chance to talk through any problems. And that's all some patients need - a few open-ended questions and a listening ear - especially in community. That's where I could see getting the satisfaction out of working in the community, personally.

So yes, mixed experience. Tomorrow I spend the day with the dietician. An important role when it comes to cardiac rehab. There's a home visit involved, which will certainly be interesting, to say the least. And it sounds as if I might get off early, which will be lovely. As I get to go and dance.

I'm still waiting for some new shoes to be delivered. I have a suspicion my accommodation office are hoarding packages downstairs, since they should've been here by now. Such lack of shoes really are my biggest problem right now. It's fun.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Not my first first day.

I'm excited.

My new mentor, who I unfortunately won't be spending all my time with given the nature of community nursing, is great. She's only recently qualified, which means she has an idea about what student nurses mean and is generally lovely. The team itself seems sound, too, which is always good news.

The ideas involved in community nursing are certainly interesting, and there are lots of new challenges to face. In the real world, people are nowhere near as compliant as they are in a hospital bed, dressed in their pyjamas. I'm looking forward to learning how nurses work in such environments.

I attended an exercise class this afternoon, followed by a talk on healthy eating. I sat and chatted with the clients, as they should possibly be called within this environment, and it was lots of fun. Interesting, too.

I'd generally forgotten how much I love nursing in general. It's sad that university makes one forget one's love of the core.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Long time no type...

Yes, I'm alive. Like Flash Gordon, sort of thing.

Anyway, what's been going on? Well, I start my community placement tomorrow which will be very interesting. I spent the day in PCT mandatory training, which was a glorious waste of time but completely expected.

I feel quite nonplussed about the prospect of community care. I know - and am constantly told - that care is going to move much more into the community over the next few years and beyond, as per government "choice" policy. But I love ward work, and would like to stay in it. My mine, however, is wedged open and am looking forward to being surprised. This placement might make a community nurse out of me, yet!

Either way, I'll keep this blog of mine informed. In the casual, cuss-ridden learning diary sense it exists as, anyway.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Nursing and Poledancing

As (I think) previously mentioned, I pole dance in my spare time. I used to, anyway, and am just getting back into it with my highly talented teacher. I have performed (for fun, not cash) in the past and enjoy it very much. During a discussion on the dreaded NMC and professional conduct both in and out of work, I got to wondering whether anyone could have a problem with this. Pole dancing doesn't involve stripping or anything morally rude. And it's challenging physical activity. I just wonder whether the NMC would see it differently, if I was somehow or for some reason reported for it.

Funny old world, innit?

Suffice to say, for this reason and others I'm heading to join Unison. The RCN do very little for nurses, student or no, so I would rather be part of of one that does. Sounds simple, and is. I like it that way. Unison backed my dear old mum to the hilt when the government were trying to screw her over in employment, so I have faith.

Monday, 6 October 2008

The Second Year then...

It's a long time coming, but it's time to procrastinate about the second year of this wonderful Diploma I'm on. As previously mentioned, this module is split into two. The first module is all about Health Promotion, which means I struggle to stay awake during lectures and seminars and get into all sorts of trouble.

I have a few problems with this concept of Health Promotion. Don't get me wrong, it's important. Nurses should be nursing people before they get sick (even if this idea is not something I personally want to follow up in my career) for the first time or any concurrent occasions. No mean feat, but it is a noble goal. My main problem, however, is the idea that nurses have to work closely in line with local policies and government white papers they have little control over. Maybe it's just the socialist in me, but I'm against being used as a tool of the government. And we could debate how regular, hospital-based staff nurses are the foils of HMG, but those involved in Health Promotion are - in my opinion - more so.

Apart from that, the lion's share of health promotion theory is all too Humanist for my tastes. I'm a Freudian with lashings of Cognitive, Behavioural and ginger beer, thus generally lack faith in anything Carl Rogers would adore. Not that it is not without certain value to certain groups of people, it's just of little interest to me.

Speaking of which, the second module this term revolves around nursing people with acute and critical illness. This is where my passion lies, blatantly. This is where a nurse needs to be skilled both technically and personally (i.e. around and about people). To say it's cutting edge stuff is perhaps a bit insensitive, but it's true. It's where I would like to be.

My responses to each module have been quite predictable. I'm excited and interested in acute and critical care, seminars in which we speak and debate the technical skills and - more importantly - how they relate to patient care. There is this underlying, excellent reminder to keep your centre in mind. Don't go requesting a CT scan until you've had a chat with the patient (if possible) about how they're feeling. If a patient feels unwell, don't jump straight for the DinaMap until you've looked the patient over with your eyes and experience.

Health promotion seminars drone on about government initiative after government initiative which, if you look into it, haven't made much of a difference anyway (although we never get to debate this in seminar). "Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation" for example has been recognised as not reaching it's aims. This is government-speak to say it failed. But instead of doing something radical, another document was producing, full of management speak and, as a respected colleague of mine has pointed out fancy collections of letters that are "just words". Words, of course, backed up with bureaucracy. This time, however, the ideas are constantly backed up with the idea of "choice". "Choice" being a byword for privatisation through the back door, another issue we don't get to debate. My anti-capitalist leanings aside, we spend very little time talking of nursing in the read world and instead speak in abstract, disconnected terms. I assume the essay I have to write on an issue related to health promotion will have to be full of such terms, too.

My next placement is within a cardiac rehabilitation environment, which should certainly be an experience. I shall, of course, end up doing my health promotion essay about issues pertaining to coronary heart disease. This is an easy option, but why make it hard for myself? The essay itself is pretty yawnsworthy. Discuss health promotion related to a certain issue, including primary, secondary and tertiary care/prevention. Given our other assessed piece of work is about CHD, I think it's wise to do it about that. If a little boring.

Anyway, the second year: a mix of beastliness (in the good sense) and boredom, so far. The jury is still out. I might like Health Promotion once I get into placement and see it in action, but for now I am more excited about my upcoming critical placement.