Four Weeks on Placement – Week 2

Four Weeks on Nursing Placement

This mini series is based around my first nursing placement of my final year of my Bachelor of Nursing degree. The placement will be carried out a large metropolitan hospital in Melbourne, on a general medical ward, focusing firstly on older persons, then on chronic illness.
I aim to post at least weekly about my experiences, feelings and what I have learnt, or as they say – the good, the bad and the ugly.

3rd year nursing placement melbourne hospital

Week Two

Day Six and Seven

My shifts are blurring together in amongst trying to learn as much as I can on placement, then coming home to assignments and general living needs like, you know, eating and showering and stuff. These last two shifts have been good but exhausting. I find that while I’m on the ward working away I’m fine, then as soon as I get home I’m so tired I just want to go straight to sleep… at 5pm.

An interesting patient who I have been caring for is an elderly gentleman who has a few things going on, but his main issue is the excruciating pain a fracture in his spine is causing him. He requires full nurse care as he has dysphagia so cannot eat or drink on his own and is immobile due to the pain caused by his spinal fracture. Pressure area care for this patient is extremely hard to attend to as moving him causes him so much pain.

The thing that has really got to me with this patient is the pain management regime for him is not effective, which he has voiced many times, and it seems to me that when it comes to ‘difficult patients’ like this, people seem to just push the blame on to someone else. So for example, I will let my nurse know that he needs more/different analgesia and they will say that the doctors already know this (as if it’s not them personally who is or isn’t doing something), then the doctors will say they’ve already given him something extra but by the time this has happened we’ve already worked out that the new drug/increased dose isn’t working so it’s back to square one of trying to help the patient be somewhat comfortable.

I know I’ve already talked about being frustrated as a student so I’m sorry to sound like a negative Nancy, but this is another situation where it is frustrating because as a student you don’t want to come across as annoying by giving people more work to do BUT being an advocate for your patient you need to find your voice and get something done. It’s a super hard situation to be in, especially when you are the one who the patients ask ‘what did I do to deserve this’, not the doctors who the patient see’s for all of three minutes a day (no disrespect to doctors intended I promise!).

On the flip side of this, being a student caring for this person has been so amazing because I have more time to assist him with eating and just generally be there to support him and have a chat. Since the registered nurses are off doing a million other things, I have time to actually take my time helping him eat which is massive when the patient feels bad for taking up nurses times – which they never should and DEFINITELY should ever be made to feel that way.

It was really nice to hear when this patient said to me: thank you. You are so patient. It’s so nice to actually be cared for by someone, not just  treated like a nuisance.

Moral of the story from my last two shifts – if you are not being a nurse to genuinely care for people, don’t do it. No one ever wants to be in hospital and you as a nurse are there to help them so no cutting corners or trying to get out of the tough jobs. Compassion people, compassion.

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