Attempting To Broaden My Experience (and earn some extra money)

I’ve been meaning to join my Trust’s bank for months, and this week I’ve finally got round to it. For those who are unfamiliar with temporary staffing in the NHS, staff who want to do extra shifts can join their Trust’s ‘staffbank’ which is large directory of staff who can sign up to cover shifts unfilled throughout the Trust’s hospitals.

I thought that with potentially a med school interview or two on the horizon it would do me good to be able to talk about the role of medical professionals outside of A&E.

I did my first shift today and it was in the Labour ward! I was really excited before I arrived; I thought that I would be able to help out with the cannulation (not of the newborns, just the mothers!) and observations of mother and child, and work closely with the midwives and doctors and pick up knowledge of a speciality very far removed from my A&E experience.

My day was actually incredibly dull and disappointing. The healthcare assistant role on the Labour ward isn’t actually a health or a care role. You’re a cleaner; you mop bloody floors and change bloody sheets after mum and baby have vacated rooms. And that’s it. There’s nothing wrong with being a cleaner, but that wasn’t the role I’d signed up to do. It was mind-numbing and frankly pretty disgusting (which in itself is often a natural part of the HCA role, but when there’s no patient interaction with it, you don’t get that fulfilled feeling inside). When I was coming to the end of my eight hour shift, they asked me if I’d stay on and do a 12.5 hour shift instead – I politely declined. It is a very necessary job, but not one that I would recommend for anyone who is looking to assist with health or care. I’ve cancelled my shift there tomorrow.

I’ve signed up to work a shift in a Cardiac Catheter Lab next week which should be really exciting! Pretty much every patient they see there has had an myocardial infarction of some sort I think, I’m going to give them a ring before I go though because I want to understand what the role entails before I go – I don’t want it to be another experience like today was.

After tax, I probably made £50-60 today, which is worth having, but I could have made it somewhere else where I was actually making a direct difference to the patient experience. I will try not to make this mistake again.


Peculiar Morning

Odd morning so far, I was polled for the first time ever on the way out of the house this morning…torn between the Lib Dems and the Tories.  As an NHS employee I’m supposed to vote Labour, right? I can’t bring myself to, some of their policies are just idiotically populist.

After that I found £100 on the street and handed it in to the police…I’m a little bit scared it was drug money and I’m going to be hunted down by some drug lord.

And just as I was writing this I chased a balloon down the street that’d been dropped by a Latvian clown.

Anyway, I’ll try and get a proper post up soon but I have a tricky couple of weeks. Coursework in on Monday, then an exam 1st May :/

A&E Waiting Times

Just a brief one.


I’ve just watched a video about paramedics/A&E support having to wait for hours outside A&E departments to handover ( The lady from the NHS was talking about pumping more money into the NHS – good idea – but putting it into the ambulance service to prevent the waits. To me, the obvious primary limiting factor is A&E capacity, and one  solution (rather than changing the mindsets of people calling 999 unnecessarily) would be to increase the capacity of A&E departments, both numbers of staff and space, rather than increasing the queue of ambulances. By decreasing waiting times outside A&E, ambulances would spend more time on the road anyway.

Last week of term!

Interesting term thus far.

The actual hour by hour plan hasn’t really been stuck to so far, but that’s only to be expected I guess. However, my two pieces of coursework submitted so far this year have received a 70 and a 75 which I’m very happy with…achieving a c.64/5 this year is seeming more and more likely!

Work is fun. I had a shift last week where a young woman was in a mosh pit and fainted, she had been standing among a lot of (weed) smokers which was probably the reason for spO2 of 88. I told the trainee paramedic with me this girl’s sats, and she (the trainee para) screamed them back at me with a worried face. You do not do this. Cue aggravated patient and worried 20 questions from patient’s drunk friends. Patient’s spO2 returned to normal within 5 minutes.

A couple of weeks ago I was working on a Friday and then a Saturday. On the Friday I had a guy who drank a whole bottle of cognac and his spO2 dropped to 74, very stupid thing to do, so I had to call an ambulance out, and that was fine. Also, side point, got the oxygen out, to be face with this:
ImageThe following night, I was at a different venue and was called out to a homeless man outside the front, I got to him and he said ‘I have chest pain and had a heart attack in January’, whether this was the case or he wanted a bed on a cold November night, who am I to say… 😉 Whatever though, I had to call an ambulance as he had the magic chest pain symptoms, the ambulance arrived and it was the same paramedics…I really hope there isn’t a 999 blacklist!


Choir’s Christmas concert is this week, and is only minorly stressful – should be fantastic!

Otherwise, I’ve received my two (surprisingly very) good references for my MSc, just need to write my personal statement now.

So, a good term I think.


Blood In My Eye

Just finished a first aid shift working at a club and toward the end of the night a guy came out who’d been headbutted. Blood loss wasn’t huge, but he was disorientated – treated him and he was fine, sent him to hospital for stitches. When he first came to me though he was very distressed and kept ruffling his hair…it had the effect of a dog shaking itself after a bath… And I got blood in my eyes and mouth. I don’t know if I should be worried, I sent my employer a text asking what to do, and, it being the middle of the night, he hasn’t yet replied. I don’t feel particularly worried, but I feel I perhaps should. Any advice welcome. No-hoper