Saturday, 16 January 2010

Standard Shift

I step onto the ward at 0645, typically early. I stand staring down the long corridor leading to the nurses station. Doors to the right leading to small two or four bed bays, doors on the left leading to isoluation cubicles. I close my eyes the same as I do every time I start a shift listening for the indicators of the kind of shift I have ahead of me, somewhere down the corridor I hear the loud, shrill screaming of a ninety year old dementia patient on a loop screaming for her mother. Down towards the nurses station where all the six bed bays are I hear numerous buzzers going and the sounds of staff members actively trying to prioritise tasks. The smell which once was very prominent to me now barely noticable that of thirty unwell patients. All this speaks of the end of their busy night shift and the begining of a fairly standard early shift.

Eight hours later I am stood in the same place looking back down the same corridor, sweat still obvious on my skin, my head throbbing and my hands shaking because I havent had anything to drink since the start of my shift and I havent eaten in almost twenty-four hours. My knees and back also throb, my bodies way of complaining at the unnatural positions I have to adpot in order to do my job. A smile creeps across my face as I realise despite all this I have achieved a lot today, my patients are all clean, well fed and settled. I take a deep breath, aching and maloderous I go home.


Vincent said...

I'm so glad you love your job. It's important to love nursing for I think only that way can the job be done properly.

There is a great joy in knowing that you are good at what you do and that you are giving something back and you can see immediately how effective it is. And I'm very glad you are back to the rhythm of blogging.

Asclepius said...

Thank you Vincent.

I'd like to say nursings the kind of job you can only do if you love it, unfortunately I have met plenty of examples to the contrary. I know I will never be a rich man and there is evidence to show that the life expectancy of healthcare professionals is significantly reduced however I cant imagine finding another job that I love this much.

As for the blogging rhythm, I lost my pace for a while, didnt really have much to say. I did however notice that when I stopped blogging the assignments I handed in were getting lower grades. This could either be because blogging was keeping what writing skills I have sharp, or because by blogging I was reflecting on here first and then writing assignments after that initial reflection.

Vincent said...

When I wrote about loving your job, I was thinking about my ex-wife who works at a care home, one of those low-paid jobs which are largely staffed by immigrant labour. (in fact she is an immigrant, and doesn't have the benefit of higher education!) When she would talk about the job, it was plain that many of her colleagues did not love their jobs, and were consequently not loved by the residents, who were entirely at their mercy. M cared for them and cheered them up and made them laugh but mainly she does the job in a proper professional manner. And I know she loves it because she went to America after we split up and here she is now back again doing the job she left.

The thing about writing is that in principle it's easy. We have been taught in school and we read for ourselves. So it's not like those arts or sports where you have to undergo special training and qualifications. But it can absorb all the decades of effort we give it; writing every day is the only way to gain in skill. The biggest part of writing is the reflection when you are not at the keyboard, or making notes by hand. For the turning of experience into sentences is a potent form of magic for which there are no short cuts!

I'm interested in the relation between your clinical work (is that the right way to refer to it?) and your written assignments. That might be worth a post?

Asclepius said...

Very true, I'll have a think on that. Thank you.