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Archive for May, 2010

#SuperNursey

I am smack-bang in the middle of a clinical placement at the moment.. Well, a little over halfway.. I tell a lie.. But here I am… Doing placement… I am studying a double degree in nursing and midwifery at the same time… It is tough-going at times, but the actual course content is stuff that I love.. I truly DO have a passion for all things nursing.. And I love that I am finally able to follow my dream… And I have set out to achieve something so much bigger than I ever have before.. And don’t worry, I don’t think I am the first person to ever study nursing/midwifery. But I *am* the first ME who’s set out to achieve this….

I liken nursing to learning how to drive a car. When I learnt how to drive a car, my Dad made me read a book about it first. Drove me insane.. He’s the kind of guy who reads the manual for his new mobile before he turns it on.. Yeh, THAT type… So he made me read a book. Then he made me change all 4 tyres on said car before he would take me for a driving lesson… Which has set me in good stead, cos I CAN change a tyre if I have to.. I know how.. I just don’t WANT TO!!!!!! (Beside the fact that all car’s I have owned have had the tyres put on by those gun things, and they are IMPOSSIBLE to take off!!!)

Then he finally let me *sit* inside the car… It was a sense of achievement. But I remembered the first time I took off in a car yesterday… I don’t even know why I was thinking about it.. But when it happened, I tentatively pushed my foot down on the accelerator. I tapped it, and the car hardly took off. I was too scared to even push that hard on the accelerator.. Yesterday when I took off from the hospital car park, I zoooooooooommmeddd away… I do tend to drive my car like its a jet-plan… :-S I know it’s not.. But still…… More on that another day….

I was reflecting on my day yesterday. It was finally a success. I had agreed to have 3 patient’s assigned to me. I had done everything they needed. I updated all their charts and I gave all their medications. Whilst also knowing what their medications were all for. I had a few stat doses of medications to give and I also had one patient off to haemo-dialysis and one on peritoneal dialysis.

I was thinking about what else went on. And I am feeling pretty good about what I achieved. Not only did I handle a regular day on the ward, but I also handled communicating with the surgeon directly without needing to grab my preceptor to hear what he had to say. I took his instructions and I carried them out. When I had a patient who deteriorated I also dealt with that. It wasn’t a regular day, yet I handled it. Small achievement, but still. I am proud. I am feeling so much better about it now than I was last week. I think I just had to push down on the accelerator a bit harder….

I don’t need to intimidated by anyone on the ward, I need to know my limits and work within them. I need to be assertive and I need to be strong and tell the doctor’s what my patients needs are. I need to advocate for them. And most of all, I need to know I can’t do everything… It’s ok to ask for help. There are many more nurses on the ward who are graduates, who have been working for years and still ask questions. The day I think I know everything I need to give it up. Cos that’s when my patient’s are in danger…

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#BloggersWithoutMakeup

Ok.. here it is.. I don’t wear much make-up on a daily basis.. Usually only when I go out.. (<— that makes me sound OLD!!!) But I have a reasonably young looking face, and my Mum does too.Mum never wore make-up until last year when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.. I saw what that can do to a person.. It was strange how a woman who had never in her 50+ years all of a sudden took solace in wearing a little bit of foundation and a little bit of eyeshadow. It was strange how a woman who had never before worn make-up, not even to her own wedding was all of a sudden applying foundation before work every day..

I saw what make-up can do; during that time. In the time when Mum was feeling at her lowest cos of the cancer and also physically because of her treatment, it seemed that this was the little bit of make-up gave my Mum the confidence to go out the door and into the world. It seems that because she was a cancer patient, she felt like people looked at her. She felt like people who saw her knew she was a cancer patient. I don’t know, this is my own reflections on it..

When Jodie Ansted over at Mummy Mayhem started this movement: #BloggersWithoutMakeup I never had planned to do a post, and I certainly didn’t know what I would write.. Thank-you Jodie. You are wonderful… Anyway… here is my pic..

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<Warning: Rant> <Warning: Profanity>

So I went to the gym yesterday.. I came back in the foulest of foul moods.. I now understand why… I was stabby as feck yesterday… And this morning too.. And it wasn’t til I went in again this morning that I worked out why… My friend came with me to the gym yesterday and met me there again this morning.. She said the same… And we worked it out..

I have been on a weight loss quest since November, and so far I have lost 20kg’s. Of late, the weight is becoming harder to lose.. But I have been sticking it out and going to the gym anyway… It’s been hard to stay motivated.. And losing this weight has been hard.. Much of it I have Slagathor to thank for… As well as the rest he has left me with..

So I have worked and I have struggled through.. I am proud of my efforts, 20kg is not a small number…

I went into the gym last night with said friend.. I was on my feet all day, for the last of a 10-day stint before I got a day off.. I was tired and the last thing I felt like doing was going to the gym, much less doing a spin class.. But I did it.. I went…

As I walked into the room, I got a look that I can only describe from the instructor as a “once-up-and-down”. And then a grimace followed by an: “Ugh!” (I can only imagine what was going on inside her head, but I also saw the look on her face- which said: GREAT! Here’s another un-fit swine who won’t be able to make it through the class!) So as you can imagine, THAT felt great… NOT!!!! And then she said to the class, “Ok, who hasn’t been to spin before?” So of course my friend and I put our hands up… I mean, we have been before.. but not in this gym. This is met with: “Ugh! Always the new one’s who are coming right on the dot of 6:30pm!” <— Errr, the class starts at 6:30pm, and I was lucky to make it there at all after being at work til 6pm..

The instructor then proceeded to make it known to us and the the rest of the class exactly how painful she seemed to think we were.. I mean, we did well.. We kept up and we pedalled with the best of them!!!! We actually did really well considering we normally go to body pump classes and are not used to going to spin on a regular basis. It’s a different kind of class.. But the WHOLE. WAY. THROUGH. THE. CLASS. The instructor continued to remind us that we were new and basically put us in a negative frame of mind. So much so that I am going to make a complaint to the gym. I pay to go there and I don’t deserve to be treated like that..

Instead what I’d like to do is to say to her: “GET FUCKED YOU STUPID WENCH! HOW DARE YOU JUDGE ME!? DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW FAR I HAVE COME?? ALL WITHOUT YOUR HELP!!!!”

It’s not even about how far I have come… It’s that you don’t know what kind of day someone has had.. And yes, I realise that just in writing this.. I am probably not affording her the same graces I would have liked her to afford me.. But here is the simple fact: that if someone came through my register or onto my ward at the hospital and I behaved in SUCH A DESPICABLE MANNER, it would be NO FUCKING EXCUSE!!!! She is paid as a professional to BE there and to TRAIN people.. Not to turn me off the gym….

<Rant over>

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So… Here’s a story I don’t share much.. Cos it hurts.. Wow, there’s just too many of those isn’t there?

When I was a kid all I could ever imagine was being a nurse when I grew up…. I truly knew this from a very young age… So when I finished high-school I applied for uni… I didn’t study all that hard in high school, so I didn’t do too well in my exams.. And as a result I didn’t get into uni… But what I *did* do was go get a job.. There was an aged care facility being built near my school. Before I even finished school for year 12, I had a part-time job there and I was on my way to making my dreams come true… Or so I thought…

So after that happened.. I continued on.. Working in the aged care facility.. I got into a trainee-ship for division 2 nursing.. I was working in the facility 30 hours a week and I was studying 2 days a week at TAFE.. Finally I had made a step in the right direction.. Not getting into uni really gave my confidence a knock about..

I don’t know if anyone knows this.. I am not a confident person.. I just pretend really well.. I “fake it til I make it” if you know what I mean..? If I pretend to be confident then maybe people will believe it.. Maybe I will too…?

So when I got into the TAFE course I was doing really well, getting top marks and just generally loving it.. But it was here that things fell apart… The more I learnt at TAFE, the more I began to realise that things weren’t always done “right” or legally in the aged care facility I was working in.. I mean yes, there are some laws that are put into place which I think are a little over the top.. But most are there for the patient’s safety.. I began to tell my boss what I was learning and that I knew things were wrong.. I am not here to name and shame anyone so for this reason; the one and only example I will give of what was not done right in this facility is this: I was rostered at the age of 18 to work the night-shift, ALONE. I was rostered to care for SIXTY PEOPLE ALONE.

So I chose to leave that facility.. Apart from the fact that I was abused in terms of a professional relationship, I was expected to do things far above and beyond any thing anyone should ever have to do.. There were things I was asked to do which were illegal. I was verbally and emotionally abused by my boss without even knowing what was going on at the time.. I didn’t understand it.. and I didn’t have the confidence to stand up to her. I didn’t have the knowledge of the way the health system worked to know that it was so very wrong until it was too late… I left that job.. Cos I couldn’t handle the pain of that place any longer.. As a result I had to leave my trainee-ship behind..

This brings me to now.. STILL, dreaming of nothing more than being a nurse, and now also a midwife… I am studying in second year uni and I am on placement.. I have grown up a little more.. I am more confident than I was back then… I have learnt a few more things and I have been stomped on a few more times..

On Friday,  I was at the hospital mixing medication for a patient’s IV. I was reading the instructions for injectable drugs, and a nurse bustled in and told me that I should do it contrary to the instructions. When I told her I would prefer to check what she was saying with my preceptor nurse (like a buddy) she took offence at that.. And I told her politely that I would rather use it as a learning experience if in fact what she was saying was true… She yelled at me, and told me: “Why don’t you know what you’re doing? You are supposed to be a 2nd year nurse!” and she threw the vials of fluid on the bench and stomped out…This happened on another occasion later in the day when I was setting up a drip.. The same sort of scenario…Telling me I was silly and should know more…

Here is my problems with this

a) I was too scared to be assertive enough about what I was thinking and feeling. I just shyly walked away and didn’t confront her about the way she had spoken to me. She needs to know that that sort of horizontal bullying is just. not. on.

b) Even though I am a student who is still learning; if I administer medication to a patient while on placement I am fully and utterly within my right to question it with the nurse. I am STILL responsible. And if someone dies as a result of MY actions, it is my PRECEPTORS head on the block along side MINE! NOT a random nurse on the ward who is BUTTING IN!!! But it is mine as well. It is not a good enough excuse as a student to say: “I’m a student, I didn’t know any better.. I didn’t want to question it, she told me to do it”.

c) I am there to LEARN- if there ARE exceptions to the rule, then SAY SO! TEACH ME!!!!

d) Don’t be rude to me.. Don’t treat me like I am a lesser person just because I haven’t finished my education. No-one is above anyone else. And anyone who thinks they ARE better than me has just dropped themselves down by a number of rungs on the “ladder of society” just by THINKING that of themselves.

I need to be more assertive, and I need to be confident in what I know, and I need to stop letting people walk all over me. I am strong, confident and I am independent. I am good at what I do.. And I plan to be the best damn registered nurse/midwife that I can possibly be!

I guess what upset me the most was how small I let her make me feel. I am not small, I am worthy of respect. And I am worthy of being taken seriously. And I am not too big a person to admit when I am wrong.. I am not there to be right, but when I do something right, then I don’t deserve to be shot down..

*Btw- when I asked my preceptor nurse about it, it turned out that I was right… (*gloats a little*)

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