Sunday, 30 March 2008

My frustrating week

It has been an interesting week for me. The job hunt is still on, and I am trying to not loose my temper. This is however, difficult. Having spilt with my Girlfriend on Tuesday, and have finally got my St John CRB check back, I was hoping that it would be a week to make up some ground on commencing a post. Not to be. I went into the ward of "Hospital B" (see posts below) and indeed, they have sent me in to order my uniform, and started getting a security badge. "Great" I thought "all I need is that contract they were going to send out and I will be well away". Yeah, right!

Yesterday, I was sent a letter from the hospital. Who, have only now decided to write to me saying that there is a job offer for me. While the ward sister has written on the occupation health form that I am to start in April, the letter states quite clearly that I cannot start until all the pre employment checks are through. The CRB form was actually within the envelope which had the letter in. Adding insult to injury, was the statement that I am down to attend the trust induction... on the 2nd June! FFS! I know the media bang on about the high number of Nurses who are due to retire, at this bloody rate even I will be an OAP before I start a damn job! I am going to have to call back into the ward and sort this out. I would say "Hospital A" are going to be back in the running, but even they are staying quiet so both offers seem dead in the water at the moment.

So, after a frustrating week of progressing in a mainly backwards direction, I have thankfully kept some of my skills up with St John Ambulance. This weeks duty was the league 1 side who were at home. Having got there and found there was an argument shortly after arriving, there was a lot of people needing to be spoken to. This resulted in the corner teams deploying early, and me grabbing my lunch and standing underneath some metal steps for shelter out of the rain. After finishing and wandering to the corner, I noticed there was no county ambulance at the ground. When the team intended for the corner came out, and went in an informed the duty manager who in term spoke with the ground manager. Thankfully, the ambulance turned up at 3:20pm. Turns out one forgot they were going, and the other did not realise they were at the match. Oh well.

The game was uneventful, and I busied myself with preparing the first aid post and leaving my equipment on a dressing trolley. This saves me having to rummage through my first aid bag. I asked the controller (a division superintendent) if there was any way of lowering the back of the bed in the first aid post. I remarked that if there was anyone who needed to be laid flat that I was not sure how to do it. I really wish that I had not said that. About an hour later, near the end of the match, the radio went off with a rather hurried "Sierra Papa to control [radio hiss]". That is the call sign for the stretcher party. They were not raised by radio. Another corner team radioed in with the fateful message "Stretcher party have mobilised to pitch, casualty expected, over". Yup, when me and the duty manager went out, sure as anything, there was the stretcher team picking an injured player up on a "Furley" stretcher, and they turned to face the exit to the first aid post. Damn! Normally, most players get sent to the dressing room, only if they need the bed do they get sent to the First Aid post. Well, I went back in and thankfully got the bed flat before the stretcher reached the post.

Monday, 24 March 2008

My hectic duty

Old photo taken at the football stadium I was at today.

There is a division one side who are a county duty for St John Ambulance. This brings my total number of duties to three within four days. I was expecting this to be a quiet day. In all the times I have been attending, there has only ever been one casualty, and that was pretty minor at that.

After arriving slightly late having being caught in the traffic, I was told that I was going to be in the First Aid post. There was a Paramedic crew who arrived about 10 minutes after I did. There was nothing much to report and the game kicked off. After about half an hour, a steward came into the first aid post with a causalty who had slipped and fallen and had a leg injury. I treated with Ice pack and the Paramdic had a look in at the patient as well. Just as we were about to discharge the patient, a st john ambulance member came in and was found to be having an asthma attack. Eventually, an ambulance was called to evacuate them to A&E. Just as the ambulance crew were about to leave, a call came over the radio of a collapse in the stands.

It was a child who had collapsed. They too were taken to the first aid post and were looked after by the Paramedic crew and myself. Following the arrival of the parent, it was decided that it would be best if an ambulance was called to take them to a hospital with Childrens services. This took place just at the end of the match.

Following this, me and the duty officer went to the town's A&E department to check on the member who had been sent up. They were doing better and we spent an hour with them before leaving once we found out they were being kept in and that relatives were on their way.

I am back there on Saturday. I hope that it will be buisiness as usual. At the moment, I shall be going to the ward for a rest.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

My jinx

Yesterday, I was covering a football match at a local stadium with St John Ambulance. Having being picked up by my mate in the St John Ambulance, after picking up another first aider, we headed for the stadium. Arriving, we found there were plenty of St John Ambulance volunteers on duty. This was including another Nurse who is a St John Ambulance member, and a Doctor who is in St John Ambulance. There were a number of county ambulance paramedics and EMT staff in the ground. I met one of the EMT who I worked with while on the ambulance service. It was nice to catch up with him. While we were preparing for the briefing, a person came into the first aid room who needed attention. Following their dispatch (I had nothing to do with them) the briefing sent me to a first aid post. Having being joined by a First aider who has just started their Nurse training and the St John Ambulance crew, we waited for the match to start and prepared the first aid post. After the corner teams had left to take up position, it was a matter of minutes before the biscuits had been found and I was about to have one. Then, just as I had literally taken on bite, a first aider burst into the room and announced "I have a casualty here with eye injury". Quickly hiding the offending biccie into my pocket, I donned a pair of gloves and set about seeing to the patient. There was a few moments spent writing my report out and all was well. After two of the members went to get something to eat, my mate came back in with some free pies (one of the division first aiders happens to work on one of the catering stands and gives SJA volunteers free pies). I had just taken one bite when there was a knock on the door. Normally this is just kids messing about. When my mate went and opened the door, we found that it was actually a person wanting treatment. Strewth!

While he was dealing with that, and I filled in the PRF, I heard another person come in and heard conversations about an accident. I looked around the screen, and saw a person who was injured. Thankfully, they were in the competent hands of the Paramedic crew who were in the stadium.

After both patients left, and the room was tidied up, I set back to having my lunch. I was reluctant to actually eat anything else as it seemed that every time I was having something, a patient was turning up. I hate to think what would have happened if I had gone for something larger, such as a burger. Stadium exploding was high on our reckoning.

As we had lost time, the first half was over. Having some of the corner teams come in for a refreshment break gave a few new faces. At the start of the second half, they deployed back to their positions. We settled down for what was to be an uneventful second half. We ended up getting bored and playing hangman. The game ended with nothing more then a snow shower. After being stood down, I went and changed my top over in the ambulance and then went and met my girlfriend and had a meal then went back to hers. As I left home at 12:40 yesterday and got back near 2pm today, it would seem that I cannot claim 26 hours on duty. Shame as it is supposed to be "door to door" times that we record.

Friday, 21 March 2008

My Road Race

It being Good Friday, there was a St John Ambulance divisional duty to cover, a 10k road race. I was aware there was a race but was initially told it was a cock up and it was relating to a duty next month. It was not which is why it was last night at 10:30 pm I said yes to doing the duty with one of the new cadet members (who happens to be a mate as well- I was on my first placement when he was there for 2 weeks works experience).

Personally, it would have been nice if it was a better day for the race as it was bloody freezing cold. The sun was out when we made our way to the start of the race. When we arrived, we quickly found there was only 1 PRF (Patient Report Form- a document used by ambulance services for recording the details of casualties) and one ice pack between our two first aid kits. Thankfully, my other mate in St John (Divisional officer) had phoned up, but we both missed the call. I phoned him back and found he was phoning in to see how things were. I told him of the situation re: PRF and the ice pack. Thankfully, he was at the division building about to take a St John Ambulance down to Harrogate where there is a contract between St John and the hospital. He brought the ambulance down and I took some Ice Packs and Crepe bandages as well as yellow clinical waste bags as some PRF's. Having already spoken to the signing in Steward, we were told that another official would speak with us before the start of the race. In due course we were approached by an official from UK Athletics. The steward asked me to find him after the event to fill in a first aid report for the UK athetics new policy.

With everything ready to roll, the runners set off and we followed to the half way point and stood around freezing while not a lot happened that needed our input (this was good). After moving again to the finish line and freezing while waiting for the final runners to arrive, we headed up to the start point, signed off all the forms without too much hassle. Though I did get a free coffee out of the day.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

The hospitls dont like me...they think I'm a homicidal axe weilding manic!

Well. I have a job. But I don't. Which is why I have just got off the phone speaking to a very polite woman on the Job Centre plus phone line. Well, I am sure that I made a different phone call from the average caller. Still, I am deep in the mire with money (Well, deeper then normal). I have £60 left on my overdraft limit.

So, rather then go under, I reluctantly have had to claim the "Dole". This is a situation which I really did not want to have happen. However, events outside of my control have forced my hand. More Hobson's choice really, though a choice of a sort. I have out-waited my CRB check it seems. Until there is a CRB check which confirms that I am not a child molesting, axe wielding homicidal manic from Borstal, both hospitals acceptance procedures have ground to a halt.

Yes, I am facing a dilemma about which job to accept. The short solution is to see who phones me up first and says "Can you start on date X". The whole reason I took the first job was that they simply happened to be the first ward to phone up and say "We are offering you a job". Still, I am sure they given the high standard of care I give it is only Fair they have first dibs on me. That was before another ward phoned up and gave another offer. Now I have a problem.

Hospital A phoned me up first. They are offering me 37.5 hours a week and a permanent contract. However, Hospital A is 23 miles from where I live. It will mean two long bus rides. I have not worked at hospital A before, though have experience in the speciality. Hospital A is a foundation trust hospital. While the building was constructed in 1968, it is earmarked for demolition and moving to a very nice village in the next few years with a merger of another nearby hospital from the same trust.

Hospital B is the hospital I trained at. They are offering me 6 months contract (temporary) and 30 hours a weeks. Hospital B is closer, though I have not worked on this ward. I have experience of allied services to the speciality though. There was suggestion of permanent staff being taken on. However, these posts were advertised on Monday.

I also have two interviews comming up. One in the same division as my last placement, and one in the community hospital ward where I was for placement 1.

Now. Who to choose. Hospital A sent me a letter with the conditional offer in writing and have taken my CRB form and documents. After finally finding a (crappy looking) passport size photo, my occupational health forms have been sent in.

Hospital B have sent me nothing. I phoned them on Tuesday and was told that all the paperwork is with HR and that I will not hear anything until they send a contract out. Hospital B suggested that if the CRB check takes too long that they may start me off mid/late-April and await the CRB check. Were to be anything untoward on the CRB check, my employment would terminate. There will be nothing on the CRB check as nothing has never shown up on all the other CRB checks that have been done on me with my voluntary work, and uni. All were enhanced disclosures as well.

Hospital A however, have said that they want the CRB check back first. THEN I shall be contacted by the ward manager with a start date. This could take up to another 5 weeks (assuming 6 weeks maximum as quoted by hospital A staff records department). So, in short, I have two job offers, no firm start date, nothing clear with who is best to say yes to, and I have run out of money and have had to join the list of Nurses on the dole. Which, leads me to the best part.

St John Ambulance had a delay in sending off my CRB form. That went off 3 weeks ago. Apparently, neither hospital can use St John Ambulance's Enhanced disclosure check because "They are only valid on the day of issue". Indeed. But as it would take 24 hours minimum to post it through, that means their one is just as invalid. And seeing as I am writing this at home in my bedroom cursing the rain as opposed to a Police cell, it is safe to say I have not beaten a tramp to death with a traffic cone in an underpass. However, if I do that AFTER the check, all would be fine and well and I am classed as a safe staff nurse. That is assuming I actually ever get cleared to start on the sodding ward. That's the next problem. In their welcome propaganda, Hospital A (who at least has the courtesy to write as opposed to Hospitals B, being the mere Acute trust that they are who have sent diddly squat) state that "On your first day of employment you will attend the trust induction". That's nice, you throw a special induction day just for me! Then you read the last paragraph: "As a new employee of Hospital A foundation NHS trust, you must attend the trust induction day. This is held on the first Monday of each month. This will become your official start date. Your actual date will be confirmed after that. The training department will contact you in due course". Ah-ha. So, all I need is a letter saying I have to attend the first Monday for induction and I am almost there! Well, no. Because, I have not been written to yet regarding the induction on the 6th April. Anyone with a calendar will be aware that Monday 5th May is a Bank holiday. Usually, this means the meetings/courses etc are cancelled for the month AFTER So, no May (queried). Given the magical CRB must be returned before I even get to be phoned to negotiate a start, I am thinking there is more chance of aerial bacon then me getting on the April 6th induction.

Then add in the getting uniform sorted out, a staff ID badge, and off duty sorted out...

I am secretly hoping I get the job on placement 1 ward. If I do, I can stick to the 6 month job. The way this farce is playing out, it will take that long for me to be able to set foot in the door as a uniformed staff nurse!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Jobs: They really are like buses!

Now, I am the sort of person who normally can worry. Nursing Standard would often have its letters filled with people writing in who had graduated, and then failed to find jobs. I have had a few job offeres now. Admittedly, it would have been nice to get them a bit earlier on then now. However, I am not going to look a gift horse in in mouth as it would seem the interviews are only taking place for jobs which I applied for 6 weeks ago. Potentially, I have a heck of a lot of ones to now turn down. This is annoying. Though good.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

My First post

Hello! This is the first post on this blog. Want to know what I was up to before as a Student? Well, you can. Its all on the old blog, warts and all.

Ah, I can see you looking at me now and saying "But, Nursing Student, you have changed your name! Who is Staff Nurse M?"

The short answer is: The same entity. I have now graduated. In the light of this, the old blog ID of "Nursing Student" was redundant, and "Nurse Staff" was too vague. So, much like a contemporary Dr Who, I have changed. Same Avatar, same profile, same link list. However, I have decided "Staff Nurse M" as this takes my last initial of my name. As a by-product, it could also mean "Mystery" as I still wish be be slightly obscure.

What have you to look forward to? Well, a comment on my personal view on the Nursing profession, the journey to me starting on the ward where I am going to be a staff Nurse, and the same old accounts of the work I do.