Fluff from my brain

Monday, September 25, 2006


How time has flown, it's now September and I have begun the third and final year of my training.

The following things have occured since I last wrote:

The wanker from across the road moved out (huzzah) after having his house on the market secretly, lest we should find out and commit any acts of sabotage. Unfortunately his covert operations were given away somewhat by the fact the people clutching estate agents details kept cruising past and so it didn't take much to look on rightmove and confirm that yes, the house was for sale. Some tense moments followed this discovery as we waited for him to go; Kev felt it appropriate to park the van a little further back from his kitchen window just in case we put off any buyers (yes, that's how much he wanted him to move). Anyway - he went, which we were quite pleased about.

Kevin has grown a beard, started recycling things of his own accord (and wearing sandals) and has taken up horse riding. Not sure what I have done to him. Oh yes, he also proposed, so I guess I must have finally worn him down. Actually it was quite romantic, on a little bridge next to Brecon cathedral. I was just about to say "Shall we play poo sticks?", as one does, when I turned around and there he was, on one knee, clutching a little box and looking wildly panic stricken.

So September 1st 2007 is the date we have chosen, so that I will have finished my training. This brings me neatly one to my next topic: my impending unemployment.

In this area the community hospitals are going to be closed (two have already gone), there has been a freeze on recruitment of community staff for at least 24 months, the local district (acute) hospital is going to lose it's A&E, maternity services and paediatric services and in fact plans are being discussed to close it altogether sometime in the not too distant future. (One general hospital has already gone). The argument is that more people can be treated in the community; presumably the people in charge of decimating the community services aren't currently in touch with the people planning to close acute hospitals so that patients can be treated in the community. Or maybe they are, because what a wonderful opening, what a coincidental gap in the market they will create in the process of all this madness. The fact the current 'care in the community' agencies cannot find staff also seems to have passed them by.

Funnily enough these things are happening in areas where a Labour government has a snowflake's chance in hell of actually getting in. Funny that.

What I feel most strongly about is that I trained to work in the NHS because I believe in it and this government is taking it apart piece by piece. Can you imagine what will happen to standards once private companies start competing for tenders? I think what happened to school meals is probably a bit of a clue, as costs are driven down to make way for maximum profit margins.

Anyway - this has turned into something of a rant, but I suppose this is what I have been thinking about recently, as having 11 months of my training to go and no discernable job prospects is somewhat worrying, but perhaps not as worrying as the thought of having to work for a private company whose main priority is not the well being of the patients in its care but the shareholders profits.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Miso soup

Well hello there.

As is usual for me it's been a fair few months since I last graced the pages of this really rather poor attempt at a blog with my presence. As I am currently doped up to the eyeballs with hayfever remedies of varying potency I am probably only actually half present, but what the heck.... I'm flinging caution to the winds and blogging anyway.

Not much has happened to me in the last four months. In March I reached the halfway point of my training, which I thought would feel like something of a milestone, but which in fact served only to totally demotivate me totally. Actually to be honest it's probably the rather pap content of the course which has demotivated me, that and the thought of doing another 18 months of yet more pap. I am certainly learning stuff about nursing, but mainly through my practice placements and my own reading. This module, which carries the rather snappy title of "Health Care Interventions" consisted entirely of lectures about statistics and educational theory. Oh yes and a two hour session on nursing skills (catheterisation and insertion of NG tubes). Useful really as one can't catheterise a patient using the ability to analyse statistics and create an optimum learning environment.

I am now on placement in A&E. There are many things I could say but I'll curb my urge to rant. I still maintain that healthy people in their 20s don't need to get themselves brought in by ambulance for a painful thumb but I accept that taxis are indeed expensive and why else do I pay my taxes? (Actually I am lying, I am a student and I don't pay taxes) ..

Not much else to comment on. Trying to be healthy; in January, February and March I went to the gym twice a week, did horse riding once a week and started running. I got quite fit and lost half a stone. In April my efforts fizzled out a bit...... so now it's May and I am going to resume activities, except it's my day off today and I feel like sleeping so that's probably what I'll do. Also all my coursework is due in at the end of this month so I think what I'll do it have the month off and go back to it in June. That's not procrastinating, it's forward planning and effective time management. The miso soup is all part of the health thing. It's supposed to be leek and potato miso soup ("Just add boiling water") and it's like drinking hot water mixed with mud and grit.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Use your van to advertise

... but make sure you are fully aware of what it is you are advertising before arriving at home of very posh customers.

Today we arrived at what can only be described as a very large, very old, very very expensive country house to collect some furniture. As we were carrying the furniture out of the house and towards the van I suddenly noticed that we had aquired a slogan. On the side of the van, painted in blackish letters read the word


In my shock I actually ended up not only pointing it out to Kev but also to our customer, who is as you can imagine, very posh. How embarrassing.

We then had no choice but to drive back through half the county with "WANKER" emblazoned upon our vehicle, until we got back to the workshop. On closer inspection we discovered that the van had also been scratched again.

Funnily enough no one else's vehicle has been touched.

Another coincidence is that yet again only the rear offside panel has been defaced which again, rather coincidentally, is the one which lines up with the arsehole from No.1's (oh yes, remember him?) gate.

Fortunately back at the workshop a bit of T-cut removed the grafitti, but the scratches are really pretty bad. So are we mysteriously once again victims of a totally random act of vandalism, in which the perpetrator just happened to be carrying a pot of black paint and a brush on his way home from the pub? This is the third time the van has been keyed, and on another occasion someone wiped mud from their muddy hands all over it too, although again, only on the side which faces AFN1's house.

Could it be that a grown man is actually sad enough to get a kick out of sneaking furtively out of his side gate and painting a rude word on our van?

(NB: the above was actutally written yesterday - this morning our mystery van defacer has limited the venting of his frustration to bending the wing mirror in. How very manly.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

the tragic demise of Terry the fish

So it's been a while.

Some of you may be pleased to know that I have survived first year of life as a student nurse. I have also given up smoking again (I restarted around the time of the children's nursery placement, but stopped once it was all over, assisted initially by the mystery vomiting virus the little bastards gave me, which not only diminished my appetite for smoking, but also for moving, talking and generally existing. Fortunately it was short lived as was my return to serious nicotine comsumption).

I have since then done a placement on a medical ward, populated mainly by old demented people and am currently in my fifth week of a placement on a surgical ward (upper and lower GI tract). Both good placements and learning lots although the day I spent peering at people's colostomies wasn't really a high point it has to be said.

Not much else going on really, since between doing my placements and working part time I seem to have no life. Course work has taken a bit of a back seat recently because I seem to be suffering from a slight lack of motivation. Still awaiting results for the rubbish I handed in for my last assessment..... strangely, being placed in a children's nursery where the university openly aknowledges that nursing learning outcomes cannot be met, and still having to complete coursework which meets said learning outcomes left me feeling rather ambivalent about it all. I will so so relived if I pass I don't care if I only pass with 41%, as long as I don't have to rewrite any of my work. The assignment results are out tomorrow...

The content of the current module (and indeed the one which preceeded it) is largely political; Health and Social care tried to teach us to be polically correct, anti discriminatory and sensitive to the needs and requirements of all, however bizarre or impossible to cater for within the confines of NHS funding.

This module, Community and Public Health, is drawing our attention towards National Service Frameworks, the Department of Health's attempts to improve services for specific patient groups. I have never been particularly politically aware but I think it's probably impossible to work in nursing and not be political. I won't bore you with any of my musings since I am probably not as well informed as I ought to be, if I am going to proffer opinions on such things....

Politics aside, one thing I have noticed recently is how many patients seem to look for things to complain about, and to be fair to the hospital, there really isn't anything wrong alot of the time. The number of people who feel that the NHS ought to fund taxi's home is really quite remarkable. I was at work recently and we had to move some patients into another part of the ward to accommodate someone much older and much more dependent than they were. Both patients became abusive, one of them complained because the part of the ward we moved her to wasn't as light (?!) and both then took every opportunity to insult and abuse any staff member who happened to walk past........

Is it me??? I can understand if you book a hotel room with a view of the sea and end up with a view of the brickworks, but surely even the most self obsessed of people can recognise that in a hospital there may be someone out there whose need is greater than theirs??? And that the view from the window isn't part of the deal.

I nearly chewed through my tongue, I had to bite it so hard.

Fortunately most people aren't like that. It just made me think. Are we becoming a nation of people who believe that their own rights supercede the rights of others all around them? Do people really appreciate the NHS or where they'd be without it.

No other real news to speak of. Maddy has given up delivering live mice as she has clearly recognised that we are just not going to get good at mousing no matter how much practice she gives us. All mice are now left on the doorstep in pieces, and we are treated with the contempt we so surely deserve.

Another tragic loss: Terry the fish died due to a mysterious injury which I believe was caused by the stone sucker we have in the tank, but which Kev is refusing to aknowledge because he was warned by the bloke in the fish shop that this might occur but refused to take heed. He has become most beligerent about the whole affair, causing me to get really cross and call him a fish murderer. The stone sucker is still in the tank. Kev cannot provide an alternative explanation as to what happened to Terry but is maintaining that even though stone suckers are known to injure other fish this isn't what happened. He is a man fool.

I am hoping the other fish will take heed from the tragic demise of Terry and avoid the stone sucker at all costs.

fingers crossed for my assignment result.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

OK, so I last posted in March and now it's July. How did that happen? I think time has speeded up, although it's odd because at the moment it feels like things are taking forever and going really quickly all at the same time. I can't wait to be finished my course, although I still have two years and nine weeks to go (not that I am counting). I can't remember whether I mentioned I had a placement in a private hospital - it was very good, and I have just finished another placement in a children's nursery, which I will for the sake of politeness describe as less good.

I didn't learn much on my children's placement that bore anything like a passing resemblance to something which I may need to know for my course, however I did learn the following.

1) Small children are very tiring. They never stop talking, showing you things, breaking things, and causing general mayhem. You have to watch them every second of every minute, unless you happen to like your walls covered in crayon and your trousers covered in snot.

2) It is entirely possible, if you have enough money, to pay other people to look after your child from the age of 3 months onwards, for 10 hours a day, including all meals, so that your parental role is reduced to collecting them from nursery, wiping them with a damp cloth and putting them to bed immediately upon arriving home. Weekends and holidays can also be covered using a combination of baby sitters and holiday childcare facilities, thus leaving you free to carry on your existance unhindered by the demands and needs of your offspring. Alternatively you can achieve the same result by not having any children.

3) I have always had an inkling that I didn't like the kind of people who live in the Surrey commuter belt, name their children "Theodore" or "Germaline" or some such thing, drive fancy cars and can't be bothered to raise their own children. I have learned that I was right: I don't just dislike them, I positively detest them.

So as you can imagine I have been an absolute joy to be around for the past 5 weeks. My placement finished last week and as I breathed a sigh of relief on my way out of the building I became aware that I felt a little unwell. 48 hours of mystery puking virus later I will add another learning to my list:

4) Children are not only tiring, noisy and smelly. They are also diseased.

Anyway it's all over now. I have two weeks of college, and then I have three weeks off, during which time I will be spending a fortnight in Normandy with the man, my sister and Jon. Hoping for good weather, and that someone will deposit a large sum of money in my bank account before we go, however that seems pretty unlikely.

Almost as unlikely in fact, as being paid for the work which I have actually already done....

Try this for a triumph of bureaucracy over common sense: I recently began working for my local hospital, on a contract which requires me to do a very small number of hours per month but on the understanding that I then work as and when I can and I will get paid anything over my contracted hours as overtime. As is the case, except for some reason it turns out that I will get my overtime hours paid for at the end of the year.

So now I am having to chase NHS Professionals up and try to get registered with them, a process I got halfway through before I signed my contract with the other place, and which took about two months (to get halfway through) which is why I ended up getting a contract. It will actually cost the hospital in question more per shift to employ me through NHS Professionals than it will to pay me overtime as a direct hospital employee, however it would seem this is the way it must be.

Well that's it from me. I am supposed to be working but I think I might go to sleep instead.

Friday, March 04, 2005

While I'm procrastinating..

thought I may aswell post more of my rubbish.

I have two pieces of work to do this weekend: one is a 500 word direct observation about infection control, the other is another 500 word direct observation about moving and handling. I know that 1000 words is not exactly a novel, but I am finding the subject matter pretty uninspiring to be honest. So far today I have done all the washing in the washing basket, checked my email about 20 times and chatted to my mate Dave on MSN.

I also did this IQ test on the MSN site and got 150, which pleased me despite the fact that I know it's an IQ test for morons to make them feel less moronic. Try it - you'll feel really clever for a bit.

I also emailed a friend to see if he's read Naked Lunch. I am trying to read it; the copy I have belonged to Kev's brother and it looks like he only got about a third of the way through. My friend said it took him a year to read it (and he writes for a living) so I am going to perservere as it's obviously a hard book to read, so now I don't feel bad about having to read each page three times (and still find myself thinking "what the F**K?!").

Right - given that I am unlikely to get any work done today I think I will officially write it off, and do the washing up instead.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

speaking to God...

Currently on my third placement and this one is an "insight placement": I have to try out different branches of nursing such as Mental Health, Learning Disability and Child nursing during this year and so this one is a Learning Disability placement.

I'll be honest, I was absolutely dreading it. I just didn't want to do it at all. Perhaps that makes me a bad person, or maybe it just makes me like most other people; ignorant and a bit scared of the unknown. As someone who really likes to interact with others I found the idea of working with people who can't or don't react very scary.

So I started out with the assumption that the kids I was working with wouldn't react or communicate in any way. I am pleased to be able to say that I was wrong. Although all of the kids I have worked with so far have profound and multiple disabilities meaning that most of them are unable to speak, they all are capable of making it known when they are unhappy about something, uncomfortable or just feeling a bit bored. Similarly they also show when they are happy and enjoying themselves, by smiling and laughing, like any other kid.

I have another 3 weeks on this placement and I am happy to say that it isn't dragging, although the days are long (double shifts); the staff are all friendly and helpful and utterly devoted to the kids they care for, and the kids are very well looked after and loved. Most have family that come in regularly to see them and help to take care of them. Some of them don't come at all. I don't know what I think about that really; obviously I can't judge, but I have found myself thinking often over the last week, what would I do if this were my child? I honestly don't know how I would handle the situation, and I don't think anyone can know until you are there.

Now I have conquered my fear of the unknown and am enjoying my time with the kids I have to try and write stuff for my portfolio (doubtless I'll have a long rant about all that another time but for now suffice it to say that any piece of work that can only be 1000 words long and yet has to fulfil about a million different learning outcomes and various other criteria, whilst also being written using a model of reflection, a model of nursing and which must also have a reference every 100 words is just too mind boggling even to start). Whoever thinks up this crap needs to stop taking the drugs and live in the real world.

Finally, before I leave you and return to my work..

On Saturday some people from a local church stopped by to do some singing and praying with the kids. All children were duly assembled in the hall and were given bells and tabourines and other stuff to make a noise with. One kid who likes to press buttons was given a little key board that makes different noises and so a fair amount of the service took place accompanied by a bosanova beat.

The four church folks set up their bontempi keyboard and we commenced with a rousing version of "If you're happy and you know it", which seemed to go down pretty well, with plenty of shouting and banging of instruments. We had a story about loaves and fishes (also to a bosanova beat), and a few more songs which quite frankly were painful due to the fact that no one knew them other than the earnest church ladies and yet we all felt we should be singing for the kids. I must say however, that the earnest church ladies sang all songs with great amounts of gusto including the one where they changed the words and realised that they didn't fit the tune, and so compensated on the spot by singing one of the words twice (although they never quite settled which of the words was going to be repeated).

Then it was time to pray.

Prayers were lead by a very nice, extremely-in-earnest kind of a lady who told the children that we are all Gods children and that they can talk to God in any way they like. She left a little silence then, for them to pray and reflect.

Small child on lap of carer next to me chose this exact moment to drop a fart which had the resonance of a trombone and the smell of a dead skunk, then smiled round at us with the widest, sweetest smile you've ever seen.