Friday, 25 February 2011


A mountain bar with fur-covered wooden stools and benches
I have been spending time bonding* with my landlady. I don't think I could have found a more congenial place to stay, the main reasons being that a) she doesn't watch TV, b) she reads books, and c) she likes films. She is not bothered when I retreat to my room to work, and is currently engaging with the occupants of the house next door, to try and tackle the night-time noise that wakes me up in the small hours and forces me to use earplugs for the remainder of the night.

I continue to stuff information into my head for later regurgitation. A rep and a nurse who work for the company that has the contract for tube feeds and nutritional supplements came to see us in the department, and demonstrated how to use the pumps that squirt the feed through the tubes, along with the different types of tubes and the feeds that they offer. It took a surprisingly long time to go through it all.

Then I was off to another hospital (my third in three weeks) where there was work to do on the ward with a new patient just admitted with a naso-gastric tube. Back to the second hospital on Thursday, and I did the full range of dietetic activities involved with a new patient: using the computer system to look at biochemistry results, extracting information from medical notes, the care plan and the end-of-bed charts, talking to the nursing staff, talking to the patient, documenting everything in the care plan, dietetic record and drug chart, handing over the plan to the nursing staff and recording the intervention on a different computer system.

It all went very well, but took much too long, so my focus over the next week or two is time-keeping. It's not surprising that things take a long time, not just because I'm still new at this game, but also because going to a new setting or ward means I have to spend ages just trying to understand where the information I want is kept. Another reason to look forward to going back to somewhere I've been before.

Onwards and upwards to Friday, when I really came unstuck, and my ego took a beating. The long and short of it was that I'd received so much positive feedback and encouragement that I believed I was doing well, and essentially forgot that while I have some experience of hospital wards and cancer and renal dietetics, I'm still a beginner at weight loss. The first consultation at the GP clinic was worse than the second, but neither went particularly well. My feedback on this session was a little bruising (but nevertheless justified), and then there was the regular Reflection meeting (which I never enjoy) and then some further feedback from someone else asking me to go away and do the task again.

So I was very glad when the week ended and I went home and Landlady came home and we shared horror stories about our respective days and went to the pub for some supper and a drink. A welcome end to not a very nice week.

* bonding = sharing strong drink

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