Saturday, 26 September 2015

I've moved

My new career called for a new approach to blogging. I'm still writing, but I've moved to In Between The Shifts - do come over and say hello!

Saturday, 14 February 2015


I hadn't expected to find being a qualified nurse so different from being a student nurse.  But as well as qualifying, I also moved hospital; and so many things are done differently at this hospital to the ones I trained at (often done in a better way, too).  

These past six weeks have been an exercise in humility as I have had to re-learn how to do some of the simplest things that I assumed I'd already mastered as a student:
  • a new type of catheter bag that empties with a tap not a valve;
  • beds that have completely different controls (and that work reliably, unlike the ones at my last hospital);
  • a macerator rather than a bedpan washer (infinitely nicer and more hygienic);
  • completely different cardiac montitors that have integrated ECG machines - no more going hunting for a portable ECG machine, wheeling it back to your patient, plugging it in, connecting it all up and then finding that it has run out of paper - here I just press 'print' on the monitor;
  • a whole different system of ordering food for my patients;
  • completely new prescription charts, fluid charts, nursing notes and observation charts;
  • wound dressings that I've never come across before;
  • cleaning everything with old-fashioned chlorinated water, rather than anti-bac wipes. 
My new colleagues have been so friendly and supportive.  It didn't take me long to feel a part of the team.  However, I still do a double-take when I catch sight of myself in the mirror and I am wearing the royal blue scrubs of a Staff Nurse, not the grubby white tunic of a student.  Sometimes I feel like a capable, qualified nurse, and sometimes I don't.  Sometimes I know what to do and sometimes I don't.  I work much more slowly than the other nurses, and that is another lesson in humility, because in order to be safe, I have to ask for help more often than others.

New uniform

I have at least one moment in every shift where something suddenly happens, an alarm goes off, my patient deteriorates, and I mentally shriek to myself "Fuuuuucccckkkk!!!".  But either it is something I can quickly fix myself, or I need to call for help and another nurse is by my side in moments showing me what to do.  I learn more each day than I ever thought possible.

And that's the joy in this new job.  Intensive Care is a stressful place to work, but its also so very interesting and fulfilling.  Patients are at their most vulnerable and at their most sick, and it is deeply satisfying to be able to nurse them one-on-one and give them really good quality care for thirteen hours at a time.  I am using my brain as well as my heart, and I love that.

On my way home #joysofcommuting #London

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

All change

It's all change for the New Year around here:
  • I'm working. 
  • The car only gets used once or twice a week, now that we no longer have a school run to do. 
  • I'm earning money. 
  • After a very late night out and a slow bus ride home, I awoke at 9:30am to find that Cam had unloaded the dishwasher, made a big pot of coffee and was frying bacon for breakfast sandwiches for everyone. 
  • I no longer travel to work by tube.
  • We are going to go to Switzerland for our summer holiday this year.
  • I'm wearing bright blue scrubs at work, and a name badge that says 'Staff Nurse'.
  • There is a hipster-run new bistro in our local neighbourhood.
I absolutely love this time of year: the crisp cold, the white skies, the sense of clarity and energy after the velvet-luxury, over-indulgent, laziness of Christmas.  It makes me want to run, to clean, to sing, and to organise.  Starting a new job fits perfectly with this vibe.  In the dark early mornings I warm myself up with one of the (many) hats I knit over Christmas and walk briskly up the hill to work, marvelling at how much I enjoy this new life I've chosen.  On my days off I make plans and lists: where to walk next, what I need to learn next for work, what I'm going to buy with my first month's salary (a new printer, most likely), what my sewing plans are for this year, and which bag I don't need to buy in the Cath Kidston sale.

There's still cake though.  There's always cake.

Lemon and blueberry cake
Lemon and blueberry syrup loaf

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Walking in the new year

Two Christmas weeks of whole-family idleness has been blissful.

Tagged by my fellow knitting, sewing, newly-qualified nurse, @lilyboot, to show you what's in my cup and on my needles right now: mocha in a Christmas mug (fresh coffee with a spoonful of hot chocolate stirred in), and a soft grey beanie hat for me.  I ta
mocha and knitting - this is what much of my Christmas looked like

And now I'm starting the year with a pair of new walking boots, a whole pile of lists, plans, maps and new pens.  Its good to feel busy and energetic again after so much sleep and rich food.

Plotting some future adventures with @gillusher #london #eastlondon #walks #adventures #daysout

Happy New Year. May you travel well in 2015 xx

New Year's Day

I have resolved to cram as many walks as I can into 2015.