Monday, 31 March 2014

Mothering Sunday

Early morning in the Olympic Park

In the morning we all went for a swim in the London Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park, which opened to the public earlier this month.  It is one of my favourite buildings from the Olympics, and looks much better now than it did then, because the wings of extra seating have been removed.  It is beautiful inside and out, and I filled my camera with photos.  Cam shrieked when I asked him to take some photos of Graham and me, and we had a little smooch for the camera.

Family reflections in the pool window #london




The children bought me presents (Cam this book, and Olivia a scarf with flamingos on it, inspired by my abiding love of all things flamingo) and made me cards, and Graham bought me daffodils and croissants.  I didn't have to lift a finger all day

In the evening Graham and I popped down to the local pub to listen to some live music and enjoy a pint of beer.

What more could anyone need? Perfect.  

Thursday, 27 March 2014

10 things

  • I baked some strawberry buns with lemon buttercream icing - just because I'd spotted the Cadbury's mini eggs in the supermarket and thought some little buns with mini eggs on top were just what I needed to bake to celebrate the arrival of spring.
  • I am not usually a fan of cupcakes, and I rarely bake them - but today I felt the need; strawberry and vanilla buns with lemon icing and a mini egg. Very pleasing #Easter #baking #buns
  • As well as mini eggs we have many large hen's eggs at the minute.  Bertha, Adelaide and Ethel are all laying an egg a day, and 8 year old Queenie is thinking about laying again (8 years old is an epic age for a hen).
  • A spiral of eggs on the kitchen windowsill. We end today with 17, and 3 more are laid each day #cake #omelettes #morecake #scrambles #yum
  • Cam sits his first two GCSE papers on the same day in May as Olivia's Year 6 SATS test; and later that same evening, Olivia is playing in a music festival.  I have written it all in the calendar and am trying not to think too much about the collective stress levels that day.
  • Cam then has a three and a half week gap before he sits his final paper.  GCSE timetables are insane.
  • My geraniums loved the mild, wet winter and are all blooming again.
  • Working in A&E has been by far the best part of my course.  I have loved every, single minute of it and am so sad it comes to an end next week.  I have arranged to go back for another 5 week placement this autumn.
  • When I work a long day shift, Olivia stays up so that she can ask me, as soon as I walk through the door, "What were your most exciting patients today? Did the helicopter bring in anything dramatic?" - she's all about the blood and guts, this one. 
  • Arriving for Saturday nightshift #studentnurse #nightshift #london
  • I have re-arranged the bookshelves downstairs, and am slightly startled to note that I have five whole shelves of cookery books.  I always considered myself to be very picky about which cookbooks I own; only the really good ones, which I use regularly, are bought.  Turns out there are more great cookbooks out there than I realised.
  • I am knitting myself a pinky-orangey-red beanie hat.  I anticipate this being worn very often.
  • I am no longer the tallest in the family.  Cam has overtaken me.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Confidence regained

Fresh, white uniform hanging on the line. Very pleasing. #nursenancy #sunshine #laundry
Fresh, white uniform drying on the line

My nursing course has reached a new stage.  The teaching at University has now finished, and from now until I qualify at the end of December, I am out on placement (with a couple of holiday breaks in there too).  I have three stripes on my epaulettes, and the nurses I am working with expect much more from me now that I am in the final part of the course.

I didn't feel remotely ready to finish the teaching element of this course.  In the last week at University I became less and less convinced that I could ever work as a nurse.  The sheer enormity of what the job entails seemed overwhelming, and as we crammed in the last few bits of theory I felt derailed and uncertain that I could do this.  But after just one week back on placement, this time working in the frenetic and dramatic environment of one of the UK's biggest and busiest emergency departments, I have regained my confidence.  

Nursing is such a practical, hands-on job and when we are out on placement we are constantly doing - washing, giving medication, carrying out procedures and observations, documenting, assessing, making comfortable, feeding, communicating, soothing and investigating.  Since I started back in September 2012, I have learnt how to do all these practical skills, and become gradually more competent in them without even realising.

The theory is crucial too - medicine always needs to be based on the best available evidence, and without the theory to underpin the practice we are in danger of carrying out tasks ritualistically and unthinkingly.  We need the teaching and critical thinking skills that the University element of our course has given us, but on their own they're not much use.  I love placement for bringing the theory and the practice together, and I think that is ultimately what I love most about nursing - I get to use the academic side of my brain, whilst also doing something that is completely hands-on and practical.

Working in A&E is fascinating.  You see every possible type of person and condition you could ever imagine, along with things you never even thought possible or wanted to see.  I have never known a 12 and a half hour shift pass so quickly, and even three weekend nightshifts in a row didn't wipe me out as much as I thought they might.  At 4:30am, on the third night I cleaned and dressed a massive cavity wound in the foot of an elderly homeless patient who amazingly slept through the whole procedure and then woke up at the end to inspect the quality of my bandaging, say thank you and give me one of the broadest grins I have ever seen.  We had a laugh and a quick chat, which left me on a high for the rest of the shift, and I thought to myself, I can totally do this job.

Arriving for Saturday nightshift #studentnurse #nightshift #london
Arriving at work for the start of Saturday's nightshift

Beautiful blues as I leave work this morning #London #goodmorning #sunshine #blue #nofilter
Leaving work on Sunday morning, and heading home to bed