Wednesday, 25 November 2009


I have been working bank shifts as a healthcare assistant in my trust. Just to earn a little extra money. At first it was liberating having next to no responsibility. All you have to do is worry about washes, feeds and obs, everything else is the nurses job. This soon became quite frustrating a patient becomes breathless or starts desaturating and as a student nurse I would shove them on oxygen. I cant do this as an HCA I have to ask the nurse. A patient complains of chest pain I cant just put them on high flow o2, do an ecg and show it to a doctor, I have to wait until a nurse appears so I can ask her if its ok.

I was in a bed space yesterday with a nurse and the patient starts vomiting large quantities of blood, the nurse asked me to get a doctor or another nurse in there as quickly as possible. I go out to the nurses station where the doctors are discussing their rounds and I shout, "we have a problem with a patient, we need help NOW!" everyone, every last one of the doctors and nurses in sight said "find someone else, i'm busy". So i go back to the bedspace and hit the resus alarm, this gets some fairly immediate attention. Despite the fact this tactic worked in the face of overwhelming stupidity I spend the next two hours being shouted at for misuse of the alarm and making the senior sister look like an idiot.

When I'm qualified and running a ward if I EVER see a member of staff ignoring an urgent call for help I will see to it that even if I cant fire them the only favourable option available to them will be to quit.

The patient survived, just about.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Oh Dear!

In the course of research for an assignment I discovered that the most common sources of heparin come from porcine(pig) intestinal tracts. This normally wouldnt bother me, most of the medications I administer (or occasionally take myself) come from animal sources. However we use a modified version of heparin, enoxaparin as prophalaxis and treatment for blood clots in whats probably 70% of the patients in my hospital. Its very commonly used.

My problem is that I had no idea it was procine based, most of the staff I work with had no idea it was porcine based. I have certainly had jewish patients in the past. I must have at some point administered enoxaparin to them. Normally I give little consideration to religious elements of care, I appreciate they are important but I prioritise the body over the soul, I let the hospital chaplains worry about that. However this is a fairly heafty rule in the jewish belief structure we are unwittingly breaking.

Busy, Oh So Busy!

In the last month or so I've moved house, passed the placement from hell and been working in all the free time I have to pay the bills. I think things are settling down now but sometimes its hard to tell. I had intended to write up a load of posts and time release them. I'm guessing i've lost a large portion of my reader-base but hey, thats not why I started doing this.