Yes, with that horrible and rather predictable pun I have just signed up to twitter. If you want to tweet me @OptimursePrime that would be spiffing. Any ideas about what topics I should bend over my lap and give a jolly good spanking to next or any personal pet peeves/ experiences you think I should know about flap on over to twitter (hah, bird puns!) and leave a message.
Also, you will have to bare with me as my plebian brain tries to figure out twitter!!!
Good gracious, it seems like I haven’t been here in aaaaages…..mostly because I haven’t. Over a year to be specific. Apologies for that and I shan’t go into the oh so tedious and dull details, but it shall suffice to say that I now live in an entirely different country after a slight change in personal circumstances.
Anyway, enough of this person turmoil bull wiffle. I have started writing again because a friend is deciding to go to into nursing so I thought I would write a bit about what it was like to be a nursing student.
Firstly, the application process. For me, it was a bit different, I didn’t go into nursing straight from school, I arsed about for a little while doing this and that. Anyway, I was called for interview after my application form went in and when I got to the interview the two interviewers were the most bizarre pair I could have imagined. As I walked into the room the face greeting me was a male nurse in his mid to late 40’s, wearing khaki shorts and smelling faintly of that shop where they sell all the tie dye clothes and pipes which are “for tobacco use only”, with a shoulder length grey ponytail. As I stood studying this silver haired hippy I could feel the back of my head burning and turned round to see a woman whom I could only describe as the lovechild of Miss Trunchbull and Hulk Hogan. Wrapped in an olive green trouser suit and sporting a look on her face reminiscent of a bull dog that had just bitten its own tongue, she sniffed and wrote something on her clipboard. The questions were a mix of “What is the best way to manage stress” (See my previous blog post for some insightful tips) and “Tell us about your favourite movie.” And I get it, they are looking for a well rounded person but what on earth has my favourite movie got to do with it? Is that going to be a major factor in my career? Is someone, one day, going to shout “Quick this man has been bitten by a dog and is losing a lot of blood, who has seen Cujo?” So bare this in mind potential nurses, you may well be asked seemingly stupid questions at interview, but get used to it, patients ask stupid questions all the time.
After successfully navigating the interrogation of the hippy and the shaved gorilla I was awarded a place in the nursing school of a well known U.K. university. This is where the fun really began……..depending on your definition of fun I suppose.
Next time I will talk about first year. Assignments longer than one of your grandma’s stories about the war and clinical mentors who could make Idi Amin look like the hambuglar.
People skills are they pre determined at birth, developed over time, or just something some people will never have? Today, a woman asked me if I liked her and when I answered truthfully (with a no) she seemed genuinely shocked. At this point my utter brazenness took over and I asked her if my opinion of here would significantly impact on her self worth and she said it would. I may not have an empathic enough brain to comprehend this concept but it seems to me if the opinions of others affect you so much you may be better not leaving your house. I am rather like Tim in the above picture (original artist unknown) in that if someone does not like me it will neither upset me nor affect any part of my life and I have come across some situations where this has been problematic or just down-right dangerous.
As a creature with a cold, calculating brain and no desire to please anyone I have a tendency to be brutally honest and that has been an issue on many occasions (for example when talking to my supervisors or people who are bigger, scarier and often drunker than I am) but I can’t seem to turn it off!
As a result of the above I have a devil of a time holding on to friends. I never seem to be able to maintain more than one friendship at a time. My longest friendship lasted three years and that particular chum was extraordinarily good at dealing with all my….emmm…”eccentricities”. Some of those reading this may find this a strange sentence but I don’t seem to have the same desire to make friends as others. That’s right….no desire to connect with others (and perhaps anticipating some reader’s views, this blog is not an attempt to connect with people but merely a method of contacting them). I can’t really explain it other than saying I am content on my own much like a wolf, cougar or gopher tortoise….hmmmm, that last one didn’t sound as cool as I thought it would.
Now, for those of you who have read my previous posts you may be thinking “Hold up there Optimurse…have you not previously claimed to be a nurse? A profession which by all accounts is at least 30% ooey gooey feelings and stuff?” and you would be right my big brained and handsome reader.
I will admit here and now that I am neither a sympathetic nor empathic person and that has had a somewhat larger impact on my work than I originally anticipated. It has cut the areas I can comfortably work in practically in half. I recently spent some time on an “end of life care” type area and I did not fit in at all. All the staff there enjoyed sitting talking to patients reassuring them and comforting them. While that is nice, some of us just aren’t that good at it. A patient does NOT want me sitting by there bed telling them that “…yes, I do think death is the end, nothing more, nothing less.” On the upside I have found that I thrive in an A&E (or ER for our american readers) environment. I can distance myself and work on, for example, a patient minutes from death and not be phased by their rapidly falling heart rate or the blood gushing from their femoral artery.
No matter what way I rationalise it, I miss out on a huge part of…and forgive me for using such a flowery term…the human experience. But I wouldn’t want to chance my objectivity for all the feelings in the world.
I would be interested in other like me, who feel like their lack of empathic thinking is an advantage or those who can provide a grounding as to why my lack of empathy is a bad thing.
Firstly I would like to point out I have nothing against smokers in general. Just the specific ones in this story. Anyway, today something got to me and as a rather stoic individual this is a rare occurrence. Today in work I saw numerous staff, medics, nurses, auxiliaries and cleaning staff, take a break for a smoke…..fine. To do so they have to trek all the way down 6 flights of stairs through the main hospital and out to the smoking area. This takes them about 15-20 mins a time. Anyway, during my shift I told my supervising nurse that I was going to grab a quick cold drink (because it was 29 degrees today and my mouth felt like I had spent a day licking Spongebob’s chocolate starfish) only to be told that I couldn’t leave the ward for that long because some other walking lung tumour was away committing slow smoky suicide.
I questioned this and the supervising nurse (who had all the intelligence of a particularly gifted avocado) said that smoking was an addiction to which I replied “Well, my Coke has Vodka in it and I am an alcoholic so can I go now?”.
Rather predictably this response was not well received. Anyway, to me this is just the epitome of social retardation. Not only do I have to suffer with a throat like the Kalahari but I also get to watch some walking waste of organs get an extra 40-60 mins break each shift.
Have you ever experienced anything similar? If you ever sit in a position of power how will you combat this.
I would also quite like some smokers views on this if they would be so kind. Please re-blog and like to get this question out there!
So, today I got asked a simple question and I just didn’t know the answer. I was asked by a patient “Nurse, how do you stay so devilishly handsome?”….what? Don’t you believe me?…..fair enough. I was actually asked “How do you last through a 14 hour shift?” And to be honest my initial reaction was “Well, that’s like asking Superman how he flies. He would probably say I don’t know and then explode you with laser vision.”
Luckily for this particular patient I don’t have laser vision…..yet. But it got me thinking, there are so many different nurses each with their own way of dealing with a long and stressful shift (as if there is any other kind). So I thought I would take you through the different coping mechanisms I have seen and hopefully hear about some of your own.
So the first method is the driving force behind any nursing staff. I am pretty sure some nurses have this instead of blood, sweat tears…..cerebro-spinal fluid and any other bodily fluid you care to mention, and it is of course…coffee. Now I have seen nurses young and old work through 20 cups of coffee. While coffee is very good for that “quick pick-me-up”, heavy use in a short period can leave you looking like a Nick Nolte mug shot (look it up) with a heart that is doing the Macarena . I recall one particular colleague who had 12 cups of coffee in 4 hours and rushed past me saying she was having trouble keeping up with her heart beat.
Number two on the list is a common sight in some areas and that is the crying nurse. I have never understood this one, perhaps because a highly curmudgeonly individual who has oodles of cynicism where his feelings should be but I will leave you to draw your own conclusions on that one. But I have seen numerous nurses (male and female) go into the staff room (and in one case a particularly large and convenient cardboard box….no really!) only to come out with a wet face, puffy eyes and a strangely satisfied facial expression. But if that helps you get through the shift without researching which drugs are undetectable in autopsy then keep it up!
The third coping mechanism is a particularly irritating one and that is complaining. The nurse who complains about their day or their workload is a nurse who will will swiftly meet my sharp tongue. I have never seen the point. I have worked with people who say “My day has been so hard” or “It’s been such a bad shift” and I think “You think you’ve had it bad, I have had the same hellish shift AND I have had to listen to your whining, now go away before I slap you with a busted catheter bag.” Most annoyingly they never seem to acknowledge that other people have had a bad day as well. I often have to tell people that moody self obsession is only attractive in mysterious brooding teenage boys who ride motorcycles. Please don’t be that nurse or if you really feel you have to complain, do it the proper way, start an online blog and passive-aggressively whine about it in one of your posts.
Finally, I will mention hobbies. Now this is, for me, the best way to kill that oh so familiar stress. How effective this is will depend entirely on your hobbies. So if your hobby is, for example a blood sport, that’s going to work pretty well but all sorts of things will work. Like one ward sister I met who used to use needle point to stitch a different swear word into a blanket every bad day. Or the male nurse who enjoyed running. He started at the hospital after his shift and pretended he was running from a fire he just started! But to any nursing students or prospective students, get a hobby and get one now!
So over to you, what’s your weird and wonderful ways of dealing with that overly demanding patient or the shift that just won’t end!
For my first real post I want to talk about something that both confuses and fascinates me. The topic of gender in nursing.
As a nurse of the male variety this topic will come up at least once a week and although I am always willing to defend my corner. The following are some of the genuine comments I have had from patients and my responses:
1)”Wow, you’re a male nurse? That’s great…my son is single.” -While it’s great that your son is single my wife isn’t as open minded as I am so really it’s her you have to convince.
2)”Is it politically correct to call you nurse?” -It would be easiest if you do otherwise we will have to come up with code names…in fact, you call me Agent Artemis and I’ll call you Eagle#1.
3)”So are you just here as the muscle?” -Ehhhh no. See, my arms look like someone put gloves on the end of a couple of walking sticks, and besides, look at that nurse over there she has more testosterone than I do.
4)”What would you do if I called you Murse?” -I would give you a gravel enema.
5) “Why didn’t you do a manly job?” -I deal with more crap than a sewage worker, more drunks than bar security and I’ve had to lift people twice my size off the floor, the only difference between me and those manly men is I do it all at the same time.
Why there is still a fascination with men in nursing is beyond me. It’s like we are an invasive species and everyone is scared we will eat all the special berries and mate with any indigenous wildlife that moves and after we are done mating with everything we’ll pick through the bins at night and….wait, what was my point again. Oh yes, male nurses. Yeah, we are here because we want to be here and not because of the… “indigenous wildlife” if you know what I mean!
HELLO! For those (IF ANY) who choose to read this, firstly, thank you, and soon two things will become painfully obvious. I am in the business of helping people get better (i.e. I am a nurse) and I have a fairly….uh…lets say “unique” way of looking at health services and medical care my patients and colleagues and humanity in general.
I will may ramble about nearly anything… from revising to resuscitating, bedpans to barf! Also, I will aim for 4 post a week but we all know how much free time we nurses actually get so that may vary.
Feel free to stay tuned for more cynicism, misanthropy and curmudgeonly medical musings and ramblings! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll wonder why on earth they let me on a ward!