Sunday, 20 December 2009

Too little time

I have now been blogging for 3 months and have managed the princely amount of 6 blogs in total!! I find that I have very little time and when I do have a topic to share with you all, I am unable to get to the computer as my husband is hogging it!!!

Time has been frantic in the lead up to Christmas and when I read the friend's blog who inspired me to start blogging, I wonder how she finds the time! Her life has been even more frantic recently with her husband being admitted to hospital a good 90 minutes journey each way and not in the most desirable of towns!! His stay was for 5 days and then he had to return each day for blood tests once discharged!!

I plan to continue blogging but know that I won't be here every week, today I have been lucky that I have had to borrow a laptop from guiding and so am able to access my blog without having to rely on my husband vacating the home computer for a while - he is unaware that I am doing this!!!

My life continues to be busy - a mother, daughter, sister, wife, guider in charge of a unit, a pack holiday advisor for the division, district commissioner -although this is a job share but I will write about how successful this is soon!! - I also work full time shift work and run the family home, but with a very supportive husband, so I am very lucky there!

I hope that one day, I will achieve a follower - the highest accolade I feel, but until then, I will write for my pure pleasure!

Happy Christmas one and all - I'll never get back on here before then!!


Well, so I'm not an evil witch after all!!! The student who I have previously written about failed her dissatation for the second time which is an automatic discontinutation of training and I now feel justified in all of my concerns! It took another 3 weeks for her to stop her training but we got there!! I feel sorry for her to have come this far and to fail at the last hurdle, but when I ask the questions "would I want her looking after me when I am ill?" with the answer being "not in a month of Sundays," then this is definatley the right way to go.
Maybe she will think about trying again sometime in the future or maybe she will now realise that she just isn't cut out to be a nurse.
Can't wait to see what the next student is like!!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Am I an evil witch??

Another of my many hats is my career in nursing. Give or take a couple of months this has now been my vocation for 20 years. I've worked all of my nursing career between 2 cities and only moved away from my training hospital group 3 years ago when all of the financial crisis hit the NHS. I've been to the lonely heights of a ward manager and beyond, but now am happy being just a worker ant.

Part of my role is to mentor students. We currently have 2 students on our ward. The first is a first year student on her first placement. She has bundles of enthusiasm and is keen to see and do everything. The second of our students is a third year student on her final placement due to qualify on the 31.01.10.

I am mentoring the third year along with another nurse who has been nursing even longer than me!!

This student has had to move her training university due to being pregnant in her third year and has moved into our region as she has family up here. She actually lives 90 minutes journey time from our hospital but unfortunately none of the other training hospitals/universities closer to home will accept students who transfer in their third year.

Our student's due date is the 3rd Feb 2010 - 3 days after her completion date. She already has another young child at home. She is currently 32/33 weeks pregnant, travelling 3 hours each day and in her first 3 weeks has managed to be sick for 5 days out of 15. She has to complete her nursing portfolio by this Friday - 2 days away - with me signing it stating that she is competent to be a nurse.

Now in the 13 days that she has managed to make it into work, I am quite clear that this is just not going to happen.

After a long discussion with her other mentor last week, I had the delightful task of sitting her down and explaining that I felt she would be better off pausing her training now, resting until the baby is born and then returning to complete her training once she was happy that the baby was OK to be left.

She accepted this and then spent the following day at the university trying to sort this out. I also contacted the university link tutor to explain to him why we felt this way and also sent him an email.

I arrive at work on Monday to find that everything has done a 180 degree turn and that she is going to continue and that I am being forced to say that she will be fine so long as she can get a two week extension on her portfolio!!!!

I then had to write an extensive action plan for her and gave her objectives to be achieved in stages leading up until the 18th December - the new deadline. It was agreed that if she could achieve all of this, then she would pass her placement.

I sat with her, explained the objectives, she agreed them and signed them, and a copy given to the ward manager who had already expressed some concern that she was going to continue.

The plan was to work towards her first objective and to have achieved it by this coming Monday. She was to think about how she would achieve her goals each day on her long commute to work and then we would sit and reflect on how things had gone at the end of each shift. Yesterday went slowly and she made a few basic errors but altogether not too bad. Today however was a different kettle of fish.

We were extremely busy and had too many patients for our beds. This meant that we had to work fast to get them through and to get the next lot in. The first patient she went to admit she took an hour to do! This should have taken no longer than 15 minutes for a student - if it had been one of the qualified nurses - 5 - 10 minutes at the most.

The next patient she admitted was a diabetic patient, basic obs include recording a baseline blood sugar - none done, last minute panic to test it prior to going into theatre. Next patient she admitted was on warfarin - a blood thinner and requires a blood test to check how thin the blood is so that the surgeon knows what he is dealing with. Recorded that the patient was on warfarin, but failed to alert any of the nursing staff that the patient would need this test doing - it can take up to an hour to get the result back!!! Luckily for us the consultant was in a fairly good mood and even offered to take the blood himself, but this still delayed the theatre list by 35 minutes, which in turn then delayed the patient going home which in turn then delayed the afternoon patients being able to be admitted.

When I managed to find time to speak to her at the end of my shift - making me late home and late picking up my son - I had to point out her 3 basic problems from today's shift. I also went through the other objectives and explained to her that she only had 3 more shifts left to achieve this first objective and that she was a long way off doing so. I also explained to her that even though she may achieve this objective, she would still be expected to maintain it as well as work towards her other objectives.

I emphasised to her that the objectives would be difficult to achieve in the time span we had and that could she now see why I was keen for her to pause her training??

I also said to her before I left that tomorrow was another day - likely to be as busy as today - and that she would need to have a clear action plan on how she would achieve her objective tomorrow. I'm hoping that she will improve by at least 300%!!

On my journey home, all I could think about was am I being an evil witch and making things difficult for her to continue her training, or am I trying to be a good mentor and encourage her to take advantage of the opportunity to rest before baby comes along?

I do know that if faced with this student at interview, I wouldn't employ her!!!