Nursing Week Two

Evidently time management is still something of an issue. University work, I am managing. Everything else, not so much. I go to Jado. I don’t practice at home as much as I’d like to, but I go still. Writing, blogging, yoga and putting my washing away are all things that have fallen to the wayside somewhat. Hence it being Wednesday again and no update on last week. I’m going to let myself off the hook. It’s Week Three. My Aspie brain is still adjusting to all the new information, the new learning style and having to make a trip to Oxford and back three or four times a week.

Week two already seems like a long time ago! Monday and Tuesday were mandatory training days. Or rather mornings. Getting to Oxford for 9am when you’re dependent on catching a bus is not fun. I need an Oxford bike. Mandatory training is, as I understand it, the bare minimum you must know before you are considered ‘fit to practice’. Monday was CPR. I have done CPR a few times, it’s much better when you do compressions to the tune of ‘Staying Alive’ than to the tune of ‘Nellie the Elephant’ or ‘Happy Birthday’. Do not have a cardiac arrest in front of me, I managed to crack a dummy’s ribs. I can use an AED (automated external defibrillator), but apparently only 20% of people in cardiac arrest have a shockable rhythm. Also, the dummies don’t jolt when you press shock. I was disappointed.

Tuesday morning was the second part of mandatory training, manual handling. There was lots of roleplay and slip sheets are fun but terrifying. I think next time I’d like to wear a crash helmet. I learned things. My posture is terrible, but apparently slightly less terrible than most peoples because of yoga and Jado. I can crouch down without lifting my heels off the floor.

Wednesday was academic and started in the afternoon, which was much appreciated. I have an assignment. An assignment which requires me to do research. In fact, the first part of the assignment is basically ‘how does one do a search of an academic database.’ I did biochemistry for years. Why did nobody think to teach me this before? Why did I not think to look for strategies? It makes so much sense! Although what it came down to was three hours of bemoaning how hard it is to write a question.

Thursday I had to get up in the morning again. Early. I had an appointment with Occupational Health because I declared Asperger Syndrome on my Occupational Health check so apparently, I needed to speak to someone qualified about it and how it relates to my ability to complete the course. In principle, I have mixed feelings on the matter. I have a diagnosis. I am perfectly capable of putting into writing how it affects me, is there really any need to have to talk to someone about it? The point of course is that they are legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments around my placements to enable me to participate. The hassle of having to get up early to go to an hour-long appointment to rehash information that I could easily have sent by email does feel like another hoop to jump through. As it turned out, the doctor I saw completely agreed. She was fantastic. We spent quite some time ranting about psychiatrists and how they don’t understand autism. She told me that if I had a placement that was too far away or was in an area I didn’t think I could cope with to let her know and she would tell the university they had to change it. She wants to keep in touch, but when I told her I live outside Oxford, she said we could do it by telephone. It was wonderful.

Thursday afternoon was another seminar. This time about the use of technology in healthcare, which if you ask me, needs some work. I contributed, again. I think I was shaking for a good fifteen minutes after I’d stopped speaking. I hope that’s something I’ll get used to, because massive adrenaline rushes in the middle of class are distracting.

Friday I possibly could have done more work than I did, but I had to go and eat chocolate while watching Game of Thrones. Sad.

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Nursing Week 1

This was the first real week of study. One important thing I learned when I arrived hideously early on Thursday morning was where the kettle is. There is a room with a kettle, a microwave, several computers, Chromebooks that can be borrowed and assorted uncomfortable chairs. The Chromebooks may very well prove useful. My laptop is heavy. I am considering an iPad, but they are expensive and I am, once again, a skint student. There are cheaper tablets available, but if I’m going to be spending a large sum of money (currently defined as anything over £20) I want it to be high quality so that I can film, type and read using it.

I have more or less got to grips with Moodle, the online learning platform. Quite why it is so difficult for technology to build a cohesive timetable to save me from having to go over two separate timetables and four different sets, I’m not entirely sure. Nonetheless, I have a timetable. Excellent. This week I had my first seminar. I am a scientist. Seminars are not something I have experience of. As is its usual reaction to anything new, my brain was screaming ‘run away! Hide! Admit defeat!’ Fortunately, my brain has an override system and the seminar was surprisingly fun. The cohort is split into two groups for seminars, I got the better group, our lecturer is a lovely man who gave us skittles and got us to work in small groups. The skittles were to play a ridiculous get to know you game. I hate getting to know you games. However, it was marginally improved by skittles. For future reference, it would be further improved by Maltesers. After the skittles, work began. Mostly discussion about Person Centred Care and how it applied to our scenario situations for our assignment.

The second set of lectures and seminars were decidedly scarier because they related to placement. In a few weeks’ time, I will find out where I am going to be spending my first clinical placement, to start preparing, we had to look at the core competencies that need to be signed off. Today my inner critic took on Ygritte’s persona:

It is exciting. Terrifying but exciting. I have so much to learn. Most of the core competencies are pretty vague and relate to things like communication and professional values instead of a list of things I must be able to do. One of the best parts about the seminar was that we used a googledoc in the seminar. So instead of having to speak up in a class of about 25 people, I could type instead. It’s probably the first time I’ve contributed willingly in class since primary school, as tragic as that is.

We also had a lecture about Life Support. Things are beginning to feel a bit more real. If I mess up, it’s someone’s life at risk, not a wasted experiment and a few hundred pounds’ worth of reagents down the sink. On the other hand, if I do something right, it’s somebody’s life, not some pretty pictures in a research paper. It is scary, but it’s the right sort of scary because it’s scary with a purpose.

That Moment When…..

While other people may find themselves forcibly reminded that I am my mother’s child on a regular basis, it’s not often that the similarities strike me. My mother is creative, sociable, assertive. She’s sarcastic, she’s opinionated, she’s too clever for her own good. While we agree on many things, as far as personalities go we’re pretty different. On a Saturday night, she’s much more likely to be the one stumbling in after midnight and I’m much more likely to be cuddled up in bed with a hot drink.

Perhaps I should take a moment to point out that I am not afraid of turning into my mother. She has a circus of feminist mice and performs at festivals. I have a headful of depressed fictional characters and spend most weekends in front of a computer screen. My life would probably be vastly more interesting than it is if I was more like my mother. I might also offend most of my friends every time I spoke. Maybe some differences are good.

It was the issue of offending people that made me pause, giggle and realise how alarmingly similar we are. Given that I fit into my fair share of minority groups, I have possibly more than my fair share of conversations about social justice. Last night was one such occasion. I was reading through a debate spanning everything from dreadlocks to bathrooms to whether disabled person or person with a disability is more acceptable terminology and was once again reaching the point of being afraid to speak lest I offend someone when this started playing in my head:

Mum, you have ruined my chances of achieving ultimate intersectional political correctness. Don’t laugh.

Too late.