Warning: one of the photos may be disturbing. Please be cautious and aware.
Welcome to the beginning of another month and to another post.
In case you have forgotten, we have approximately 6 weeks (or so) until Santa decides to fly the coop and into town. Where he shall drop presents off underneath my Christmas tree, eat my cookies and hopefully enjoys the taste of lactose free milk.
If not, he is no longer getting full dairy milk in my household.
Along with Christmas and the self-discovery of ‘whose Christmas present cost more’ (thanks Nan), I am not looking forward to the one sentence out of the whole year.
“Scarlett, I need you to go down the road and get me these ingredients because I’ve either run out or I didn’t get”.
The reason behind Lois running out of her ‘ingredients’ is because she tends to cook for the British and Australian Navy and the army. So I suspect this year, its another excuse for me to go out and explore the adrenal, action packed marathon known as Christmas Eve shopping.
It originally stems from yours truly being the one and only person, who I admit is dumb enough to go within a 500 meter distance of Lois and a vehicle that can move.
Cue the screaming crowd of coked-up mothers driving minivans and shopping trolleys and their rebellious, devil children, who like to run me down or tie me up. Not in the sense I like to be tied up as a strung like chicken from the rafters. As I continue on my path of torture, mass murder and craziness about horrible children and butcher knives.
Before I find myself fighting against those to become free from being a trussed up chicken. Where I come home and loudly proclaim to a panic stricken Lois, “I fucking hate Christmas and the nutcases who come out from Who-ville”.
No amount of Christmas presents, ‘Merry Christmas’ greetings and holiday cooking can stop me from loathing Christmas with a passion. Simply for the fact: I have to deal with psychotic, coked up bitches who would take a swing at you for a leg of ham.
Or my person favourite, drive you off the road.
Since I know Lois is reading this like she does all of my other blog posts, this one sentence is for her: You can stick your ingredients up your arse and get one of the others to grab it. I am officially on strike!
Now like last year when I was forced to fight for my life, both in the shops and on the road, I was more than a little pissed off when I got home.
So after telling Lois that next year, being this year of course, she could go out and buy the ingredients herself because I would never do it again. Funnily enough, I know when Christmas comes around the corner and Lois is standing there wondering if ‘she has cooked enough’; she will ask me to go out and sacrifice my life and driver’s licence.
Some would say that I am a masochist at heart and should be listed as my birth name. Yes, you may be correct but isn’t certainly my game that is for sure.
So Dearest Reader, please tell me if you have ever fought off deranged and slightly crazed megalomaniacs and their equally insane children for chicken, cheese and lettuce?
No, didn’t think so either.
As to the other incredible parts of my life, I have recently received a rather lovely photo under the strict context of ‘educational purposes’ of a very purple and black bottom cheek.
I hate to admit this but I was highly amused at the photo one morning this week as I was on my way to exams. But not amused by the story told about how the bruise was delivered onto someone’s backside.
Since I am loyal to this person and I wouldn’t necessarily want to breach patient confidentiality or essentially out my arse on the line (pun intended); I shan’t be uploading the image along with this description.
But I can tell you the story as to how Neo received that delightfully nasty and very painful bruise upon their arse.
First of all, it wasn’t a result of some kink fest having gone wrong. Which caused the submissive to be heavily paddled for having disobeyed their master.
Rather its something along the lines that features a human being, little too much air in the sense of it whipping through their hair and concrete.
Dearest Neo told me, they had taken a tumble after wanting to gain clarity of the ground they were riding on. As a result of wanting to inspect the grounds of seeing as to whether or not it was safe for other users, Neo decided to take a tumble and test out the strength of their bones and backside.
Least to say, they soon learnt the ground was indeed not safe for others to follow in similar suit as they were soon carted off by ambulance. Before spending a few hours being poked, prodded, scanned and zapped by medical staff.
Only to be released from the wilds of A&E into the scary and slightly mundane world of reality.
Talking about A&E and the wildness that seems to flow beyond the restricted zone most people experience, I believe it would be a highly entertaining place to do a placement in.
Purely for ‘educational purposes’ of course.
For I personally believe A&E would allow me to put all the skills I have gained over the last three and a half years into practice. Not to mention see how my psychological wellbeing could handle the fast impact, world crashing area of nursing.
Not including life as a junior doctor and medical intern at college. Which isn’t going to be happening for a couple of years, but it never hurts to think of the future.
But like any fast driven, action fuelled and adrenaline pumping area that is A&E, I come to think of the many burnt out nurses who either refuse to leave the area.
Due to the fear of not knowing enough skills so it has become a comfort zone to them. But also because they know it is the only place they have power and control over and those within.
This I have to admit concerns me as a student nurse but also as someone who is about to graduate after many years of studying
For I believe as much as college likes to sit there and slam so much information down my throat and into my brain; I sometimes have the feeling I am being suffocated.
Not only by the incredibly large amount of information I have to cram pack into my over sized brain. Also I feel in some way, college doesn’t prepare me enough for what it is really going to be like.
What it is going to be like in the real world when I step off the fake ward scene with a robot controlled by my tutor, who can blink and sounds exactly like that.
To walking up to a real and very much alive patient and inform them, “Good morning, I am a student nurse and I shall be administering your medication this morning. Is this fine with you?”
Like I’ve been told countless times as much as we want to help you with your illnesses and injuries, we always have to ask for permission before doing anything.
So when the time comes and I get to play doctors and nurses for a couple of weeks with real living patients, I get to put everything I’ve been taught into practice.
But at the end of the day when I reflect back upon my practice of administering medication in all various forms to cleaning a wound heavily infected; college doesn’t pre-warn me about the signs of burn out.
Especially after doing a solid week of nights and then I’m suddenly expected to function properly at 6 o’clock in the morning.
With little to no coffee.
Yes I do know Dearest Reader, in the field of nursing and any other job that isn’t strictly based from 9-5, Monday to bloody Friday; I am going to experience many, many, many shift swaps.
|Ssssh. Do Not Disturb!
Where some of them are going to be great and do me a favour.
But at the same time, some of them are going to be so shit and crap that I wish I’d stayed in bed. Preferably wrapped up in some exciting and exotic book with a cup of coffee and the smell of freshly baked bread.
I’ve discovered with these shift swaps, I can and shall be more prone to doing harm. Not only to myself but also to the person/people I have promised to take on as my patients for that shift and shall try to protect them from harm.
All the while advocating for their rights as a patient to be provided with more than adequate patient centred care and also standing up for my rights as a provider of medical help.
Having just finished what seems like a large amount of time researching and then talking about bullshit, I’ve found nurses who suffer from burn out are 10% more likely to cause harm to their patient and patients.
Or these nurses are more likely to inflict horizontal bullying upon someone within the same field as them for two reasons. One being psychologically burnt out and two, they consider the person to either be a threat or they are a recently graduate nurses.
Who just so happens to not have enough social skills in protecting their self or know who to turn too in fear of being socially outcast and made a target. Or in some cases, physical violence being a result of having stood up and seeked help.
I thought when I watched shows like ER, All Saints and my favourite, Nurse Jackie; I was cut for the industry of medicine and all things health related.
Some three and a half years later after cramming for assignments and pulling my head out of my arse, I have come to a conclusion. The conclusion I have come to one bright morning while peering down at my very empty coffee cup was: I am never going to be truly prepared for something that hasn’t happened or possibility won’t happen.
But having just said that, I know what the warning signs and symptoms of a psychological burnt out for one’s wellbeing is and what I cause to do with this knowledge is something I have to work at.
I can thank my time on the mind numbing and mentally draining neuro ward for this revaluation. Also I think it stems down to the inner knowledge of seeing people my own age.
People who had been involved in a motor vehicle accidents and were now not able to say their name or know where they are, I know I’m not 100% cut up for A&E or being an A&E doctor.
This seemed to be more confirmed when I was told of the story of how a man came into triage, after driving himself to hospital, with a knife imbedded into his head.
I soon realised that all though it would be cool to witness the man with a knife in his head, acting calmly and rational like it was nothing; I am really someone who likes to get to know my patients and the way they think and work.
So with that, I believe I am destined to be a medical-general nurse. Where I deal with everything from pus filled kneecaps to peering at tape worms in your head; I am at your beck and call.
For all you have to do is reach for that button near your bed, press it and I shall come answering. However, if it is a code blue and you are the patient, I shall be running.
I like the idea of being on a ward and staring at the beginnings of a gangrene toe and reminding myself that is what extreme smoking does to you. Or watching pus leaking out of your infection, after reminding you again while I swab away that we did remind you to clean it.
Every day and not occasionally. Or my particularly favourite is never.
The thought of stick an enema up your arse and saying you need to lie on your side for 30 minutes is what keeps me awake at night, wondering.
|Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)
It could also stem from the fact I had downed an extra large coffee recently after studying for my exams and in my head, I’m imaging what it would be like to perform cardiothoracic surgery.
Or congratulate you and your partner on the safe arrival of your new born.
So either way, I am going to be a med-gen nurse dealing with shit and other delightful things that keep me employed and you stupid enough to do whatever the hell you’ve done.
Or I could be the nurse you hear in the background as I watch your eyeballs roll into the back of your head as they knock you unconscious for the surgery. To be able to experience the opportunity of seeing a patient being surgically cut open on the table, not knowing whether or not they are going to live or die; would be amazing.
It would be amazing because I get to the lungs pumping air as you breath in and out while being sedated before looking down and seeing your heart nestled between your lungs, beat.
Beat for those few moments before your heart stops as the bypass has now been switched on. Which the bypass is now beating for you, providing your body with much needed blood and oxygen as we set about repairing whatever damage has been caused.
It would be amazing for the fact that I got to see a live surgery being performed. Which is something I have dreamt of seeing from the first moment I sat down in front of my television and watched a man’s heart be removed from his chest.
For that I have to thank the RPAshow on my television because without their weekly programs, I wouldn’t have considered medicine or nursing.
As a result, I’ve learnt that I can handle pretty much anything from holding a patient’s hair as they vomit, to smelling like pee and finding faeces in my hair and dealing with pus filled wounds.
My Dearest Reader, to be able to see and eventually perform a surgery is not only something I dream of at night when I close my eyes. Rather it is something once I do and perform for the first time as I hold that scalpel blade, I would finally feel like I had achieved something.
I know I should feel empowered and happy for having gotten into college, transitioning from one college to another that is much stricter and harder to pass a bloody subject. I know I should feel like I have achieved everything.
But by being completely honest with you, I don’t feel like I have achieved anything at all.
It boils down to the knowledge if I had stayed at USQ, I would have passed with honors and a big pat on the back for being brilliant. Before having to go into the real world of nursing and state, “Yes I went to USQ and yes I graduated with honours. But if you give me the opportunity to prove myself, you will be quite surprised”.
Instead I decided one morning to go out into the real world and relocate to another city and college.
All on the hopes of this college mentally stimulating my brain that when it came to the end of my degree. Instead of feeling like a failure because it was ‘easy’, I forced myself to expand my knowledge and show everyone the real reason why I deserve to have ‘QUT, Bachelor of Nursing’ next to or at the end of my name.
I gave up the realistic idea of graduating with honors because I found USQ to be incredibly easy and not so mind stimulating. For something I knew I would find out of depth and suspected I would have a hard time adjusting.
Even now, I admit I am struggling on a daily basis to understand what the tutors/course coordinator wants.
So at the end of the day when I walk across the stage in my cape and stupid hat, when the Dean shakes my hand and mentions some fake bullshit; I shall only then feel like I have achieved everything I’ve set my heart on.
Simply for the fact I worked so fucking hard for that degree.
I worked long, incredibly horrible, painful and tiring hours to understand something so simple anyone else could understand it. I’ve spent additional hours studying textbooks, talking to people and reviewing videos to gain knowledge in procedures.
I have spent many hours not sleeping as I poured over textbooks in the dark and glancing at computer screens, wanting to know what else can be done. I’ve spent hours and hours perfecting my math just so when it came to administering medications, I didn’t kill you or your family member.
As a result of being so particular with certain things, my OCD has had flare ups. Some where they are small in standards and can be overlooked to spending five minutes, triple checking I have made the correct administration calculations.
Or I am that nurse who hovers around your bed, waiting and hoping nothing happens as you glance up from whatever you are doing and I smile at you like ‘thank god you are still alive!’.
Finally, I have spent so many years telling myself that I was going to be the 62% of students who would drop out.
I have spent the last three and a half years telling myself each and every semester: “You are going to fail!”
I am going to fail my assignments, exams and mid-semester just so if it does or has happen(ed), I won’t feel completely devastated and go all Thelma and Louise. I have also spent the last 9 semesters telling myself when I get a pass, credit or distinction: “I passed….. I actually passed….Are they insane?”
I’ve also spent the last three and a half years doubting myself beyond any level of being understood by someone else.Someone who lives in my world and understands where I am coming from knows anyone diagnosed with Dyslexia or any other learning disorder, feels like they have to put in 100% more than any other student. Just so we can pass a small subject like math in high school and another 100% on top if we want to go to college and actually get somewhere in life.
Someone who doesn’t live or understand my world doesn’t know the sheer strength it takes to get up on a daily basis, stare at ourselves as we pluck the courage to carry on. Someone who doesn’t live in my world doesn’t understand how hard it is to sit there and ask for help, only to be laughed at and told “Don’t be stupid!”.
Someone like me wouldn’t understand how hard it is to be me.
So know this when it comes time me handing over your medication, cleaning your wounds, holding your hair and telling you I have removed the tumour.
When it comes to me standing over you in my blue scrubs and scrubs cap, you can be assured I have studied every fucking textbook to mankind.
I am someone who would have reviewed, watched, studied and reflected on previous surgeries that when I go to sleep, I dream of how I am going to perform your surgery. How I am going to communicate with my fellow staff members and how I am going to communicate the loss your family will experience.
I am someone who will be cool, calm and collected so when something happens, do not fear I will freeze up on the spot and have a mini freak out session. All the while you bleed to death on my table as I stare at the blood pooling in your cavity.
No, I am going to be that doctor who asks for the clamp, gauze and I am going to pack that site.
I am going to be one of the many doctors who are going to stitch that sucker up, preventing you from dying on my table as quite frankly, I am not in the mood to deal with death.
However if I were to lose you on the table due to complications, know I’ve tried my sheer determination and hardest to save you and your life. I will think about you, your surgery and where I could have gone right.
So if I were to go wrong next time, I’d have learnt from my mistakes for the next patient.
As your student nurse and registered nurse, note I shall try my hardest to fight for your rights, prove to you and my colleagues every patient deserves to be treated fairly and kindly.
But mostly, I shall prove to myself why I entered medicine and why I am destined to become a registered nurse.
Until next time,