Tag Archives: Work

Letting Go

My work has its good days and bad days. My patient is pretty much all I think about for 12 hours at a time when I’m in work. And no matter whether they are improving or detoriating, it is incredibly difficult to STOP thinking about them at the end of the 12 hours.

I’ve not had the best weekend in work, but it could have been worse. Saturday was especially bad. At the end of it, I knew I needed to let off the steam from the day, but then also let go, forget about it all, and get some sleep before I returned again at 7am the following morning. Thankfully, although my housemates weren’t in, Mr B allowed me to rant at him for 10 timed minutes, and then changed the subject and made me laugh. And Roo also did a pretty good job of relaxing me over the phone before bed. But generally, letting go at the end of work is something I’ve recently realised I struggle with. If I’m with Mr B, he’ll tell me off if I talk about work too much, which helps because I don’t realise I’m doing it a lot of the time. But if I’m with friends that I wouldn’t talk to work about, or on my own, then it can often just spin around in my head. Thinking over everything I’ve done, working out what I did wrong / right, and thinking about how I can improve. Which is fine to a degree… but at some point I need to STOP thinking about it. Let go. I think I need a tact to doing this, without necessarily relying on others. Any ideas?

Like a Camel?

For about two weeks I am working on and off nights and days. I did nights at the weekend, I did a day yesterday, I’ve got a night tonight, I’m doing a day on Sunday and then nights on Monday, Thursday and Friday. After that lot I’ve got some days off and a couple of study days, before another day and 3 more nights. A lot of people recently have commented that they don’t know how I do it. Constantly switching from days to nights – your sleeping and eating pattern is all over the place. I’ve never been jetlagged, but I believe it is a similiar feeling. To be honest, I don’t know how I do it. But I think of it like a camel.

A camel has those huge humps so that it can drink lots when it gets a chance, and store up water for when it can’t get any drink. Thats kinda like me, with my eating and sleeping pattern at the moment. Last night I slept for about 12 hours straight. But apart from possibly a brief nap this afternoon, I won’t sleep now until 9am tomorrow morning. And somehow I keep going. Work tends to keep me busy, and yeah, I feel tired, but I can keep going. Its similiar with my diet – often when I’m on nights I live off snacks – fruit, geobars and sandwiches. But just before going on a night shift, I usually eat a main meal, and if I haven’t eaten a big meal for a while, then it’ll be a really big meal. And then that’ll keep me going for a while.

I think the key to doing nights, especially when you’re on and off them all the time, is to be flexible in your approach to sleeping and eating. I do try to establish a routine with when I sleep and eat, because that is the healthy way to do it, but when I’m on and off nights all the time, and sometimes I just *cannot* sleep after a night, then allowing times like this morning when I slept all morning, is crucial.

Nights

I’ve just done two out of three nights. And I can’t sleep. I slept till 12 (3 hours), and then rolled over, into the wall, banging my head which woke me up significantly. And I haven’t been able to get back to sleep since. I can’t complain too much though, yesterday I slept from 8.30am till 5.30pm!

Its just complicated. Tonight will be my 5th shift this week, and I’ve got the joys of an appointment at the hospital 1 hour after I finish work tomorrow morning. Given how calm (not saying the Q word!) work was last night, I figured I might have a chance of getting annual leave tonight. But I was the 3rd person to request it and I can’t find out if I’ve got it until late afternoon. Hmm. If I get it then I don’t want to be asleep now because I won’t sleep tonight, and then I’ll have to get up early tomorrow morning to get to my appointment. If I don’t get annual leave, then I do want to be asleep now so that I can last the night, and the extra time in the morning.

Hmm, I don’t know… Think I’m going to put on a DVD and see if I dose off.

I miss Christmas :(

Yes, I know, I’m not really missing Christmas. I know its happening – I’ve got my advent calender up, I’ve written and given out half of my cards, and I’ve bought most of my presents. But I’m working so much before Christmas, so that I can have some time off after Christmas, that I’m missing out on a lot of pre-Christmas stuff. I haven’t sung a single carol yet this year. My first carol this year will be sung the Sunday before Christmas. (first draft of this thought it wasn’t until after Christmas, when I remembered that I do actually have next Sunday off). And yes, I do get some Christmas in work – last night when it was quiet the rest of the decorations went up on the unit, and on Christmas day apparently all the staff and parents/families sits down and has a BIG meal together. Which will be different, and I’m sure special in its own way. But it doesn’t make up for the fact that I’m missing out on a lot of Christmas church stuff. My church in Swansea is tonight having its Carols by Candlelight, which I have sung in and helped prepare in previous years. One of my new churches here is also having a special pre-Christmas service tonight, and but I’m working a nights. I suppose its just one of those things that comes with the job I have. Its just that knowing that, doesn’t make me miss it any less.

Things I have been reminded of today

* Arterial blood pressure is quite high in real terms, and can create a considerable mess!

* Don’t step too close to ‘the line’ – it could end up in a different type of mess!

* Upward spirals are better than downward spirals.

* Be thankful for what you have.

* Working nights and therefore being knackered, decreases your day to day coping skills.

* It is always worth persevering in a hunt for a tin opener (unfortunately it wasn’t a situation I was comfortable resorting to my pen knife! 😉 ).

* Friends are good at telling you when you’re talking crap.

* Ben and Jerry’s Caramel icecream is great!

Cardiac Arrest

As most regular readers will know, I don’t tend to blog about work at all. I am going to today, but only very abstractly.

I had my first cardiac arrest yesterday. Well, not me, my patient. She hadn’t been right all day, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but when I looked at her, I just knew something wasn’t right. The doctor had also been concerned, and fortunately she was there when it happened. I turned and ran for the emergency trolley, along with the senior nurse, except that it wasn’t where we were expecting it to be, so we both did a mini lap of the nurse’s station looking for it! By that point, half a dozen people had arrived on the scene and CPR had started.

I’ve been taught dozens of times how to do CPR – 5 rescue breaths and then 15:2 compressions to breaths* – but never once have I been taught what you should do if everyone else is already doing that! However I didn’t spend long wondering what to do – after clearing the cot of toys and grabbing a load of needles and syringes, I followed orders to draw up an adrenaline infusion. My heart was beating twice as fast as normal and all I seemed to be able to think were swear words and ‘I’ve got too much adrenaline in my body’, but somehow, somewhere my brain instructed my hands to draw up the correct amount of adrenaline. Another nurse was sorting the boluses of adrenaline and another nurse drew up the fluid for the infusion.

The arrest only last 4 minutes. But every second during those minutes felt like a lifetime. I had worked with the child on many shifts and I know the parents well. So beyond the general panic, was the emotional feelings as I hoped she would pull through. The parents weren’t there at the time, so I was also vaguely wondering when/how we would contact them. Thankfully she stabilised after the 4 minutes.

At the time, it felt like my head wasn’t screwed on and I could have done everything a lot better. Another nurse I was working with and a friend of mine who was working nearby and watched the whole thing, both said I did really well. I found it really hard to believe them, that they weren’t just trying to make me feel better. The nurse said that not many people could draw up an adrenaline infusion so quickly, with such pressure and limited experience. My friend, who started work the same day as me, reiterated that and told me that no matter how much you do, you’re always going to come away feeling like you could have done more.

After it was all over, I felt physically and emotionally drained. And my heart needed a break after pounding so quickly! So after sorting out the drugs that needed doing and clearing up the clutter that had been created during the arrest, I collapsed in the coffee room with my friend, who kindly fed me chocolate. The rest of the shift ran relatively smoothly, although there were equally distressing situations happening close to where I was working, which added to the general stressfulness.

At the end of the day, I came into the coffee room to pick up my stuff, and my friend was waiting for me and told me we were going to the pub. I didn’t get a choice, not that I was complaining! It was just what was needed. There were 4 of us newly qualified nurses on, and we’d all had stressful days, so we all went to the pub together. It was great to chat / laugh / rant over a drink and it meant that we were all relatively relaxed by the time we got home.

* NB – They teach 30:2 for lay people, due to the differences with adults and children.

Down South

As most people who know me will know, I have recently moved Down South and started a new job. For obvious reasons my current location and details of my work will remain anonymous on such a public blog, but at the same time I am very aware that many readers will be wondering how I’ve been settling in, etc. So I’m going to try to give you an update, without disclosing too much.

Basically I feel that I am settling in fairly well. On my first proper day here, I went for an explore and within half an hour I found a kite shop and a Christian Aid protest – and I had a warm feeling that this could become home. I’m slowly beginning to find my way around and find the necessities. Work is going well – the staff are friendly and I get on well with my mentors. I’ve been receiving quite a lot of teaching and information overload often comes to mind, but at the same time I’m enjoying the challenge. I’m currently living with other NHS workers, who I get on reasonably well with, in a fairly decent flat – it has a much bigger kitchen than my old student house, not that that is hard! 😉 This morning I was kindly introduced to a local methodist church, where I negotiated offers to join the local student groups and help out with the Sunday School!

So generally I’m feeling positive about settling in properly. I do miss Swansea a lot, but I will be back to visit and my friends are planning trips Down South. I have to go back in November as I’ve organised an SCM gathering there, but I should get a quick visit in before then. My bike is currently in a friend’s garage, so that’s my excuse to go back and visit! Having found a secure and dry place for my bike at both home and work, I’m looking forward to being able to cycle to work and explore a greater distance with it.