Friday, 28 November 2014

10 things

  • About a month ago I realised that working as a nurse feels completely normal now, rather than strange and new.  This is A Very Good Thing, as it means I no longer feel overwhelmed, but I still retain my excitement and enthusiasm.
  • Time for a quick cappuccino and a gaze at the magnificent autumn morning sky over East London before I start. #work #nurse #sky #london #sunrise
  • I have just nine shifts left as a student.
  • 7pm - supper time selfie in the reflective windows of the staff restaurant #work #nurse #window
  • I am making time to run, although I am starting to realise that I can't always go running exactly when I want.  Such is life though - anyone working or looking after children, or both, has the same problem.
  • Yesterday, when the coach at my running club said that our session for the evening was "Chats", I assumed that this meant running and chatting.  So I set off, cheerfully chatting to the person next to me.  It turns out that "Chats" is actually a loop of over 8km, which includes the long Chatsworth Road in Hackney.  And it also turns out that the lady I had started chatting to is very experienced, races competitively most weekends, and runs at a much speedier pace than me.  My good manners and sense of pride meant that I couldn't bear to either stop chatting or drop away from her, so I ended up running over 8k at my 5k pace, whilst discussing analytics methodology in the publishing industry.  An amazing achievement.
  • I bought some new lunchboxes from Lakeland.  This yogurt-and-granola pot is my favourite, and means I can quickly re-fuel with much needed carbs during my 15 breakfast break at work.  Plus, how cute is the tiny honey pot?
  • Good morning! I am loving ITU...almost as much as I'm loving my new granola and yogurt pot (from the marvellous Lakeland of course). Morning break time. #work #nurse #secondbreakfast #granola #yogurt #pot
  • Cam is in Year 10, and has test after test at school at the moment.  Some of them are progress tests and some of them are official GCSE assessments.  He's characteristically laid-back about it all, but it strikes me as being pretty relentless.  I made him a chocolate cake yesterday, and when he came home from school and ate a big slice with a big grin on his face, I was so pleased.
  • I decided my best boy needed a cake - chemistry and history exams today, and a weekend of history revision coming up for another exam on Monday. Being 15 can be pretty relentless. #cake #autumn #sprinkles #chocolate #family
  • I read Gone Girl last week and didn't like it one bit.
  • I've had some good walks lately - just locally around Epping Forest, Hackney and Walthamstow Marshes and the Olympic Park on my days off.  The damp, misty, golden autumn colours and smells just take my breath away.
  • Along the edge of the East Marsh in Hackney this morning. #walk #autumn #London #dayoffOn Hackney Marshes, gazing over towards the Olympic Park #London #walk #sky #dayoff
  • One of the first things I am going to buy when my salary comes through in January (the first money I've earned since 2009 - oh my), is a new pair of walking boots.  Mine are ten years old and the sole is coming away from the boot on the right foot; they are not really very waterproof anymore.
  • Exploring #Leyton #walk #London #dayoff
  • There is obviously a very long list of Things I want To Buy when I am earning again.  

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

London's sculpture trails

Back in 2010, a parade of elephants came to London to raise awareness of the need for elephant conservation.  The children and Graham and I had such a fun summer going elephant spotting around town - ticking the elephants we found off the checklist, taking photos and deciding which ones were our favourites.

Cam, elephant, Livvy
A 10-year old Cam and a 7-year old Livvy with an elephant in Green Park

Livvy checks the map
Livvy crossing elephants off the map in 2010

I thought at the time, what a wonderful idea it was.  The project really captured the public's imagination; everyone in London seemed to be talking about it.  It got us all out as a family, exploring London and sharing with each other the places we knew best (Graham knows the Royal Parks extremely well from cycling through them on his way to work for years, but I rarely go there) and the elephants were just very lovely works of art in their own right - sometimes beautiful and sometimes amusing.

So I was delighted to find that there are two really good new sculpture trails in London this autumn.  

There is a trail of fifty Paddington Bears scattered around London to mark the release of the Paddington film and to raise money for the NSPCC.  The bears have all been designed by different people, and are mostly clustered in a few parts of London so that you could easily see a whole bunch in an hour or two (although I am perversely tempted to trek all the way out to Heathrow to see the Chief Scout Bear designed by Bear Grylls).  The Paddingtons will be in London until the end of the year, so you still have a couple of months to see them all.

The second trail is to mark the 2014 Year of the Bus (I know - who knew?).  This one I stumbled across completely by accident as I was walking in the Olympic Park last week.  I found a beautiful, floral bus sculpture, read the label on it, and knew immediately that I had to come back soon with my smallest nephew - bus-and-train-mad, four-year-old Leo - to see how many of the rest of them we could find.  

Year of the Bus sculptures

At the weekend, my brother-in-law and Leo joined Livvy and me for a stroll around the park to find the buses.  Well, Leo scooted at high speed while the rest of us strolled.  Instead of the paper map that Livvy checked off the elephants with in 2010, this time we had an app with a QR reader so that we could 'zap' the buses as we found them and mark them off the map on my phone.  We had so much fun, and Leo adored looking out for the different buses.  The trail around the Olympic Park is one of three bus trails - the others are in Westminster and around St Paul's and the Tate Modern. 

Year of the Bus sculptures
Livvy and Leo find a bus in front of the stadium
Year of the Bus sculptures
Self portrait in the mirrored bus
Year of the Bus sculptures
David and Leo with the number bus
Year of the Bus sculptures
Found another one!
Year of the Bus sculptures
This paralympic themed bus was mine and David's favourite

Year of the Bus sculptures
The floral bus from the other side - in front of the Broadcast Centre

I've got a whole, happy autumn of bus and bear hunting around London ahead of me trying to spot as many of them as I can - sometimes on my own or with a friend on a weekday day off, and sometimes with the family at the weekend.  That makes me very content.  

Monday, 3 November 2014

Lanyard love

Every nurse loves a lanyard.  We use them to display our security IDs and keep our computer access cards safe.  They ensure we have rolls of tape handy and hold little aide-memoire cards that we've been given.  The paediatric nurses like to cover theirs with colourful stickers.


My current one in use is the big chunky black one on the right.  I got it for taking part in a virus testing week which my trust was promoting early in October.  When the research nurses came to visit us to tell us about the campaign, the first question anybody asked was "Do you have any lanyards?".  Happily, they'd ordered plenty so most of us in A&E are wearing them at the moment.  And these are very good quality lanyards with a nice big clip and a long, wide strap.  They sit really neatly around your neck.

The A&E Porters all have black HEMS lanyards with little red helicopters on them (HEMS is the emergency helicopter service, which is based at our hospital and which we're all very proud of).  People really covet the HEMS lanyards, and if they were ever being given away there might be ugly scenes as I can imagine people might be tempted to snatch.  I don't know how the Porters got theirs!

I also have a blue NHS one (which my friend Sue bought off Amazon - I somehow thought you might have to prove you worked for the NHS to get one, but no).  Its a little too flimsy for A&E use, so it's retired at the moment but may well get used again in the future.

I have a very pretty Cath Kidston one too.  Cath Kidston is on to a good thing with her branded lanyards as pretty much every single nurse I know owns at least one.  I don't use this red one for work any more because it doesn't have a break-away clip at the back of the neck.  Many  drunk or agitated patients find a lanyard very tempting and will pull on them, so you really want a break-away clip.  Happily Cath is now taking this into account and her new range of lanyards has safety clips at the back.  I love this midnight blue one with stars, and this spotty pink one.  I would love it if Kaffe Fassett or Orla Kiely started making lanyards.

Amazon has a few decent ones too.  I like this blue one that simply says NURSE - it could be good when I am in my new job where everyone wears scrubs and it's difficult to remember who's a doctor, who's a healthcare assistant and who's a nurse.  There's also this excellent pink one with an integral nurse's watch in it.


On my lanyard I carry my ID card, which I need to get in and out of the staffroom, the wards, and all the different parts of A&E (Resus, the Clinical Decision Unit, Paediatrics, Majors), a roll of transpore tape, a blue tape measure (mainly used for measuring wounds or measuring people for anti-embolism stockings), and a card on pressure ulcer prevention.  Its always the last thing I put on when I get changed, and once it's round my neck I know I'm ready to start work.  It's my daily medal, and it tells people who I am and what my job is.