Friday, 26 February 2016

Work Woes

Nursing has changed so much in the ten short years since I qualified. It really isn't the same job I initially got into. And this has got me thinking over the last few weeks: is nursing still the career for me?

I have to answer honestly: I'm not sure.

When I first started nursing, the emphasis was mostly on the practical aspects of the job. There's nothing more satisfying than taking someone's vitals signs and interpreting the results, seeing the progress of healing (or non-healing) wounds, following a patient through their journey of being really sick and watching their progress as they get better. Or just spending those precious ten minutes with a grieving family, or a patient who has received bad news.

You were actively encouraged to go on study days, sent to mandatory training like Immediate Life Support, and Moving and Handling. Encouraged to gain new skills like venepuncture and cannulation.

Team working was paramount; everyone worked together, efficiently and effectively getting the essential work done so that time was available for those patients who needed a chat, or the family who needed extra support, or just to actually have a laugh and a joke with your patients.

But now, recently, things have changed. I barely have time to get my essential stuff done. By the time I've got the medications out, it's time to do the observations. Meanwhile you're getting interrupted because there's a phone call about someone who was discharged the day before, or social work are phoning, or the physio's are asking questions about a patient or you have to escort a patient to X-Ray and before you know it, it's lunch time and you have to serve the patients their meal. And you haven't even had a chance to assist anyone with their personal hygiene. Then it's time for medications again, and the rush starts all over until visiting time. Then in between speaking to relatives, and organising home care and discharge planning for umpteen patients and realising room 2 still hasn't had a wash, and you get a new admission in, whose paperwork you have to do and you still have all your writing up of all your other patients to do. Oh and you still haven't peed since you left the house.

And this is all when patients are compliant. It's amazing how just one disruptive patient can absorb every ounce of your attention, as happened to me on Sunday night. So much so that the police were called at 2am.

This patient basically verbally abused every single member of staff (and some patients) for 12 hours. And despite being told they could leave at anytime (no medical or psychological need to be in hospital) they still opted to stay. I feel really bad for all the other patients who had to suffer this patients bad behaviour all night.

I can't tell you the last time I was on a study day. I think it was before I had the Wee One (and she's 4 now). There's no study days available, unless you go on your own time and pay for it yourself. Everything is on-line and self-directed. My ILS is definitely out of date, and there are no opportunities attend any study days as they cannot afford to have you off the ward for any length of time.

I don't even feel like part of a nursing team anymore. I mean, I work with a team of nurses, but on the ward, you're on your own. We each have a team of 9 or 10 patients, and we are solely responsible for those patients. And there are only 2 nursing assistants for the whole ward. The only time I really see my colleagues is if I need them to check a drug or to ask an opinion. We simply don't have time to help each other, because we're stretched so thinly and we're just trying to get the basics done for our patients. And that's when we are fully staffed (which is never)!!

And now the wise old government are wanting to being in a new role: the Nursing Associate who according to an article I read are there to do all the practical stuff to allow Staff Nurses to focus on management and decision making.


I became a nurse BECAUSE of the practical stuff. I do not want to be a manager. If I wanted to sit at a desk and do paperwork all day I would have stayed in my office job. Which also has made me realise, that unless you WANT to go into management, there is no career progression in nursing. I don't want to be a ward Sister/Manager/Charge Nurse. They're not out on the shop floor. My Ward Manager spends most of her time at meetings, worrying about figures and stats and budgets and staffing and figures, figures, figures!! That's not why I did my degree.

I fear that I'm destined to be a band 5 forever, still pounding the wards until I'm 60, 65, 70. Is this what I really want? And if it's not, what will I do? We can't afford to be a one-income family. Do I want to go back to a 9-5 office job?

Honestly I don't know. But I'll hopefully figure it out soon.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Finished Knits: Baby Edition

There's a wee bit of a baby boom going on in my circle of friends. A couple of friends due dates are soon and I've been working on some gifts for their babies.

I'm particularly proud of the shawl. It's an absolute BEAST. It took forever, but it is beautiful and I just know the recipient will love it. The pattern can be found here if you want to take a look.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

First Trimester Weight Gain

Since I found out I am pregnant, I have been very aware that I've put on A LOT of weight. Way more than the suggested 5lbs they tell you you will gain. I am well over a stone heavier.

I know what my problem is though: I eat too much. It's not that I'm even hungry half the time, it's that food is there and I eat it just because I can. Share size packet of crisps? I'll demolish it. Toast and Dairylea (OMG it's so good), I'll have 2 slices just because I'm bored and it's there.

My other problem is, my husband is doing Slimming World.  And he's doing VERY well. He's lost just shy of 2 stone since the start of the year, and is showing no signs of slowing down. He looks great, and is eating so well. The meals he makes now are delicious, and healthy and I really should be benefiting from this, but I just can't help myself with eating all the crap in between!  I see how well he's doing, and realise I'm not going to be losing any weight any time soon, and it gets me down a little.

I don't even look pregnant yet, I just look fat and chubby. By no means was I skinny before I got pregnant, (my BMI was already 30 pre-pregnancy) but I really don't want to end up even heavier after the baby's here.  I was 14 stone after I'd gave birth to the Wee One, and it took me two years to lose two stone.

If I could curb the constant grazing/eating for the sake of it, then I'm sure I'd feel better. I'm hoping this is just a first trimester thing and that I'll kinda grow out of it as the pregnancy continues. Until then, if you need me, I'll be raiding the fridge.

Friday, 12 February 2016

13 Weeks Pregnant: Baby Number 2

We found out just before Christmas that we are expecting baby number 2. This was a nice wee surprise, and a little shock, especially since 3 days before I had been downing prosecco on a Christmas night out with some friends I used to work with.

It's been a long time coming, and has taken us a while; we've been trying to have another baby since the Wee One turned one, and she's 4 now. Still, we are very lucky and very happy to be expecting again. 

For the first 10 or so weeks, I have just wanted to have all the food, all the time.  You would think food was going out of fashion, they way I was eating. And I've piled on ALL the weight.  But now, I've gone the opposite way. The minute I eat something, I'm automatically full. Like, uncomfortably full. Or I feel hungry, I go and make something, and then I take a bite and don't want it any more. 

I've been in pretty good health, but I have definitely been more nauseous this time around.  That made for fun times at work, with the variety of smells and liquids dealt with as a nurse! It feels good to finally have told my colleagues.  My boss has known since Christmas, but it has been quite challenging coming up with reasonable excuses as to why I can't attend to the patient who is Influenza A positive, or why I can't escort a patient down to x-ray.

I know it's very early, but I swear I can feel this baby moving. It seems to be a wriggler, as was evident when we got our scan. The wee thing just wouldn't sit still.  I can't remember feeling any movement the last time until I was much further on. Another thing I've noticed is how emotional I am becoming. Now, I will cry at the drop of a hat at the best of times, but recently, I feel like I've been bubbling at everything. A song, a tv show, a nice gesture, a tweet. Anything and everything will set me off. I really, really hope that subsides, though I don't think it's going anywhere any time soon. 

The Wee One is quite excited to become a big sister.  Some mornings we are met with "is the baby here yet", "can I feed the baby when it's here?" and some ludicrous name suggestions from her.  (For the record, anything from Peppa Pig or Paw Patrol has been vetoed).  The baby is due around the week the Wee One starts school, so that will be fun if this baby decides to arrive bang on time. I refuse to miss my oldest child's first day at school!! 

Exciting times all round. 

I'm Back!

It's been over 15 months since I last blogged. It sounds like a confession, but to be honest, I had kind of lost my way a little bit. I felt I didn't really have anything to blog about, and what I did want to write about, I couldn't get into words. So it's been a while.

In the meantime, lots of things have been happening. The Wee One started nursery, turned 4 and will start school this year after the summer. We also had a few trips to the dental hospital and the Sick Kids hospital after an accident at nursery knocked a front tooth out, and a fall a month later resulted in the other front tooth having to be removed under anaesthetic. Her beautiful smile remains tho, regardless of the missing teeth.

My husband and I both lost our grans within a month of each other. The passing of S's gran was very sudden, unexpected and a shock to everyone. The Wee One loved her GG, who according to her was always up to "shenanigans", but surprisingly, she took her death very well, and accepts that we can't see her any more. My gran had been unwell with dementia for a few years, but her passing was still hard to take and I miss her a lot. She died a few days shy of her 89th birthday, and I'm sad that we won't get to celebrate her 90th, but happy that we were blessed to have her for such a long time, and that the Wee One had two great grandmothers who knew and loved her very much.

There were massive changes at my work. The hospital closed, and we were merged in to a massive big "superhospital", much further away. I can't talk a lot about my work, but it was a very stressful time. I was the only nurse from my old ward mixed in with nurses from 4 different hospitals, all with very different ways of working, different ideas of what should and shouldn't be done, and all in a hospital where absolutely everything was new to everyone. Some folk quit, lots went off sick, others got transfers out to different wards/departments, all which left us short staffed and overworked. I came home crying most days after a long 12 hour shift, mostly out of sheer frustration, tiredness, and general dislike of the new place.  I was miserable, moody, and it was affecting my family life. After a few failed attempts at interviews for new jobs, I made the hard, but ultimately correct, decision to go part time. I probably should have went part time when I went back to work after I'd had the Wee One, but I enjoyed my job back then, and worked with an amazing team of people. Financially, it has been a big blow, but emotionally and for my sanity, health and my marriage, it's been the best thing ever.

And finally, we found out just before Christmas that we're expecting Baby Number 2. We are due in August, and the Wee One is super excited to be a big sister. Although, I'm not sure we'll be consulting her on names, considering her most recent offerings have been: her name, Colin, Baby, and Wall...

So I'm glad to be back. And hopefully, I won't be taking another extended break any time soon.


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