Friday, September 02, 2005

My new placement

I started at my new placement this week at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. As you may, or may not be aware, I spend 6 months studying in Uni and then 6 months of the year at various locations at Hospitals or out in the Community with District Nurses etc.

My previous placement was a bit of a personal disaster for me as I failed to achieve all of the outcomes that I need to complete my training. I can't put my finger on exactly why I didn't cut the mustard, but when I was there I certainly felt like I was being compared to other students who were either further ahead of me in their training or were wanting to work with the nurses when they qualified and were certainly trying to grease the wheel with their potential future employers.

I left my final placement last year, a much better nurse in terms of knowledge and confidence than when I began, and this placement just totally removed all my confidence and made me consider leaving the course for the first time.

It is not too late for me to redeem the situation as I can still achieve the outcomes in my new placement and in my final placement. However, I have made life difficult for myself and I will need to be on top form to make the grade by the end of my training in January.

Therefore, before I started my new placement this week I was really apprehensive and within 15 minutes of being there I did not feel any better as I sat in on what was the most comprehensive nurse's handover I have listened to. I will openly admit that a lot of it went over my head, so I decided to grab the bull by the horns and tell the nurse that I was working with of my concerns. I am pleased to say that she reassured me that this ward in particular gave very detailed handovers, more detailed than many other wards and I would not be expected to take in everything immediately. The staff seemed nice and I had worked with a couple of them before including my colleauge, Gillian with whom I have shared most of my placements.

This is definently going to be a great place to learn and a chance to see things that I may never see again. For instance on my first day I was able to witness a Cardioversion which is basically when the heart is not beating the way it should. The patient was anaesthetized and had pads placed on her chest. She was out cold, before they started but when they started to shock her, but she sat almost bolt upright and opened her eyes as the first shock of 150 Jules was given!

On day two, I saw a chest drain being inserted for the first time and you just dont expect to see a Doctor trying to force an instrument into someone's side and hearing a loud "pop" when they succeed.

My final shift this week was the best one, with me feeling a little more confident around the ward and having got to know the staff a little better. Also, I was able to see someone having a Pacemaker fitted, which was fascinating. The Doctor was good enough to explain everything as he did it.

However, it did not go exactly to plan and took twice as long as it should have with the Doctor having great difficulty getting the probes that he had just inserted in the patients heart into the correct position for the Pacemaker to do it's job. It all worked out in the end but it made me seriously consider, as I have before, about becoming a theatre nurse when I qualify.

On the other hand, I love being on the wards and I think that interacting with people is one of my strong points. Unfortunately, you dont do much interacting with a patient when they are lying unconscious in theatre!

The thing that brought it home to me was when I went into the room of a 94 year-old gentleman to chat to him for a while as he had had no visitors that day and he began to tell me about his experiences in the war. He talked about how much he disliked the French, calling them cowards. He really liked the Germans saying that they were family people, just like us. However, his eyes filled with tears as he talked about his time in the Middle East and as he spoke of the death and destruction, the look in his eyes said more than words ever could.

It is at times like that when I know that I have made the right choice by training to be a nurse and how much I love doing it. To be in a privilaged position where you can touch people's lives and make a small difference to them is fantastic, and because of that I will overcome the difficulties that I am having at the moment and do what I have to do.

Wish me luck!!!