Friday, 6 August 2010

Hobbyist Nursing

"Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in." - Michael Corleone (Godfather III)

"Oh hey, you're back so soon?"
"Wow, guess you just couldn't stay away, huh?"

The 'phone rang at 7 o'clock, the number said "Blocked" and I knew it was the hospital. I'd been umming and ahhhing over booking a couple of shifts with NHS Professionals next week to get a bit of cash and to keep my hand in, but this was a pleasant(ish), surprise. One of my colleagues apologised for waking me and wondered if I could come in. I stared at the ceiling, counted to 3 and said "yes". Time enough to brush my teeth, grab a clean uniform, pack up my lunch and kiss my wife goodbye. She sensibly muttered something about "having fun" and went back to sleep. I ran to the bus.

Coming back to work felt nice. I'd been getting a little misty eye'd about nursing watching Nurse Jackie and it was great to take handover, plan my immediate to-do's and then start the drug round. I really enjoy going through the obs, the drain charts, looking the patient in the eye, saying "Good morning, my name is AbsentBabinski and I'll be looking after you today". Generally they smile back and say good morning and you get a sense of them.

My heaviest patient was a guy who had suffered a stroke intra-operatively and had been left with reduced strength throughout. I helped him with breakfast and it was nice to be doing this for another person, the simple, important stuff. I guess I'd forgotten in the run up to med school how satisfying and intimate this kind of thing is. We chatted as I spooned up porridge and I then I gave him a wash. My lecturers at nursing school had always waxed lyrical about how we were so lucky to be involved in such intimate aspects of care; I had always proposed the notion that they *really* needed to get back on the wards and find out how things worked. I'm not saying that I totally agree with them now, but pulling bank shifts, it feels like a lot of the pressure is gone and I can practice my nursing care in a different way. I feel like I'm doing it as a hobby which means I can take things to a level of detail that perhaps I couldn't when I was ward staff and dealing with the crap that goes with it.

And it was nice to see everyone again, see one of our junior staff take a shift in charge and, frankly, do okay at it. Probably better than my first time in charge!

THIS JUST IN: My med school have *finally* confirmed my place for this year. After so much jumping through hoops and form filling, I got an email from UCAS today saying the uni have confirmed my place, so watch this space!

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