Monday, May 10, 2010

First Day of Clinical Placement

Today was my first day of my first clinical placement - how exciting and nerveracking! This week I am on the Oncology and Haematology ward - cancer and blood borne diseases. My hours this week are 7am - 3:30pm with just a half hour break for lunch. Very tiring but it goes really quickly. I have to wake up at 5am!!! Last night I took a sleeping pill because there is no way I would have been able to get to sleep, I would have been way too anxious that I would miss my alarm and be late. Actually most of the other people in my group said they couldn't sleep last night. Not me, I slept like a log, LOL.

There are four students including me on the same ward as me and four more on the floor below which is the Ear, Nose, Throat and Plastics (Facial Reconstructive Surgery) ward. Next week we'll be swapping - awesome!!! We're all so grateful to be placed on these two wards because they are so interesting. Next week we'll also be changing our schedule to afternoons, so it'll be 1:00 - 9:30pm.

Today we had a bit of orientation with our clinical educator who oversees our placement and assesses us. Then we went up to our respective wards and were assigned a 'buddy' who is one of the registered nurses. Mine was so nice and taught me so much. She just explained everything in lots of detail without me having to ask too many questions and feel stupid - everything from what all the medications are for, what diseases the patients have and how they are treated, how all the machines work, all the procedures, how to write notes in the patient's files, everything. I just followed her around all day and by that I mean I RAN! Omg, nurses are constantly on the move and work really quickly.

I didn't practice that many nursing skills today because I just wanted to get orientated and see how it all happened. Actually right after we arrived on the ward there was an emergency situation and one of the patients died. What a reality check. Later that day I saw the family come in who were naturally very upset and sat beside the body for a while. Most of the patients are being treated for cancer and are having chemotherapy. One of them is a prisoner and there were two prison guards sitting outside the room at all times. They just sit there doing nothing all day which looks pretty boring, not even reading.

The only skills I did were some urine dipstick analyses (for the chemotherapy patients because their pH needs to be a certain level before they are given the drugs), and a wound dressing for a small ulcer. I was hoping to do some basic OBS (blood pressure, temperature, pulse etc) but the patient had gone walkabout and then when they came back the equipment had been taken by another nurse. I'm sure I'll get plenty of opportunities later in the week.

We were all so exhausted at the end of the day, but I feel it was more because of the early start than working hard. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Unfortunately I won't have the same lovely buddy nurse again because she is not working for the next couple of days.

Tonight I am just going to pop down to Woolies for a quick grocery shop, make lunch for tomorrow, eat dinner and watch Wife Swap, do a bit of reading about Chemotherapy and then in bed by 9pm.

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