"In Bed 1 we have A, a lady admitted yesterday following a fall at home. Her sodium levels are low, she has diabetes, and we need to monitor her fluid balance very carefully today. She is restricted to 500mL fluid intake a day and someone needs to bleep the pharmacist because we're running low on the anticoagulants she has been prescribed. The physio's coming to see her later because she's rather unsteady when she walks.
In Bed 2 we have B, a gentleman transferred from ITU yesterday following abdominal surgery. He has very high blood pressure, and desaturated overnight. The on-call Doctor came out at 2am and prescribed anti-hypertensive medication. He is receiving IV antibiotics."
I love this part of the day because it is fascinating. Each patient is a complex person with many needs and problems that need to be solved. The handover sets the agenda for the day. We find out who is deteriorating and what the plan is for them, who can go home today, who is going for an X-ray or an MRI scan, and who is due to come in.
There's still masses of terminology I am not sure of, but I'm picking it up steadily. In a year or two's time, I'll be the one giving the handover.
Graham and I now have a similar sort of domestic handover when I'm about to embark on a couple of days of long shifts, or I'm about to have a couple of days off at home. It goes something like this:
"We caught another mouse in the trap behind the cooker last night, but I haven't emptied the trap yet. Olivia came home from school today with a note about a school trip next week; I've marked it on the calendar, and she'll need three quid spending money. Cam's done his maths homework, but still has geography to do. The chickens have eaten all those cabbage leaves and you owe me fifty quid because I had to put petrol in the car this evening."
|"I made cinnamon buns, they're in the Union Jack tin on top of the fridge, and there are only three left"|
I like this domestic handover as much as I do the nursing one. It helps me concentrate on one role at a time - either I am at home and I know what is going on, or I am at work and someone else knows what's going on and I don't need to worry about it. I am starting to realise that I can't (and shouldn't) be trying to do everything. It's a wonderful thing to be able to hand the domestic sphere over to someone else for a couple of days, while I make sure I understand the difference between MRI, MRSA and MIBG.
(...and I do: MRI is magnetic resonance imaging - a 3D image inside the body; MRSA is methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus - an antibiotic resistant infection; and MIBG is metaiodobenzylguanidine - a radioactive chemical used to treat certain types of cancer)