So I'm five weeks into it and I'm already knackered (waking up at 5:30 the last couple of days doesn't help). The first four weeks of the BN have all been lectures and core fundamentals of nursing care. We covered things such as chain of infection, therapeutic relationships, hygiene, suppositories, catheters, feeding and washing. For all the practical sessions we use the universities own 'mock' ward and most of the theory stuff such as evidence based practice is covered in lectures and tutorials.
Then this last week I have had clinical placements at a hospital ward of an aged care facility in Wellington. The placements have been full on. 7am starts are not easy to get used to but they are definitely worth it. A usual day starts with me getting up at 5:30 then leaving my flat just after 6 and cycling down to the aged care facility for the nurses’ brief from the night shift nurse at 7. Then the residents have their breakfast in bed which we help with feeding, we then get them out of bed shower them and take them down to the lounge until it is morning tea time during this time we do a bit of paperwork. We help the health care assistants with morning tea and then do a bit more paperwork or have a meeting amongst the students and our advisor and by then it is time for lunch (time flies when you are on placement, you are always busy. After we help with the lunch feeding the residents go off to bed and we do more professional development or paperwork. Then by 2.30pm our placement is over and we head home.
Placements are full on. For people like myself who have never done any caregiving work before you do feel like you are thrown straight into the deep end. A lot of things you may never have though about pop up as problems which you have to find away around. Getting someone with dementia out of bed for example is not so easy. Just not being able to verbally communicate with your resident at all can be a task you may not be able figure out instantly. That's where making sure you are doing a lot of reading and good evidence based practice comes into play.
After the first day where you feel like you are thrown in the deep, placements do become good fun. I am lucky myself to have some lovely residents which I am looking after too, which does help. You learn so much on placements, it is amazing, and in such a short amount of time too. My first lot of placements this week have definitely confirmed to me that nursing is what I want to do with my life and I feel a lot fulfilled in myself for it.
I realise I have made placement sound like a bit of a grind but outside of the fairly rigid scheduale there are times when you are able to go off with a registered nurse to watch a swab or dressing being done. I got the opportunity yesterday to go on the medication run with the RN which was a great experience. The nurse really did know her stuff and was able to explain just about what every drug was for.
That is it for now I think. I might post something a little bit later on this weekend maybe about the idiosyncrasies of working in an aged care facility.