Showing posts from July, 2019

Cup of Tea

Once I started university, it was only a matter of weeks before our first ward placement started. Some of the girls had already been working at the hospital as Health Care Assistants and were fully accustomed to the routine of ward work. But for those of us that weren't, the experience was extremely daunting. For much of the shift it felt like I was wandering aimlessly, with no real idea of what was expected of me. As has been the case for many years, the wards were running on low staff numbers, so the nurses just didn't have the time to guide us through a whole shift. I was relieved back in the classroom, when I realised I wasn't the only one who felt this way. One of the lecturers who had interviewed me told us this was very common and that when she was a ward sister she used to keep a washing up bowl at her nurse's station. When the nurses were dealing with patient needs that required qualified staff, she used to ask the anxious student nurse to go and get that bowl.

Spice Girl

Working for Ida had taught me many things, but one major lesson was that I needed to work with regulations in place! I found a new job in a nursing home and because I was under eighteen I was given the role of a support worker, not a care assistant. This was far more suitable for my age. The shifts involved feeding the elderly patients, making beds (without anyone in them!), sorting laundry and helping in the kitchen. I worked with genuinely caring nurses, including the manager who took time to make sure I was OK and talk to me about nursing as a career. The only one not to fit this description was a terrifying agency nurse. One Saturday morning, I was quite happily going from room to room, changing the beds. Obviously I wasn't doing a good enough job in her eyes because she suddenly started screaming at me. I had no clue why until she made it loud and clear that I should've been folding the sheets with hospital corners. 'What the hell are hospital corners?' was my tho

A Motion

My journey into the world of care started by accident when I was about to turn sixteen and had just finished school. With a long summer ahead, I wanted to earn some money. One Sunday morning I heard the minister read a request from an elderly lady looking for help around the house. I had always been brought up in church and every Sunday my mum would expect me to talk to each well-retired member of the congregation with a fixed smile, politely answering questions about my siblings and school. While at nine years old this felt laborious, it did mean I was used to speaking to elderly people so the idea of helping a lady at home sounded pretty good to me. The hours were short - just two hours on Saturdays and Sundays in the early evening. I could still go out afterwards and the money was unusually good for 1997. I told the minister I'd be happy to help her and he arranged for me to meet Hayley, the woman who covered the weekday shifts. When I arrived she seemed concerned about my ag