Every opportunity to learn….

We are all reminded regularly to take every opportunity we can to learn something new, take responsibility for our own practice experience and not rely on mentors to spoon feed us situations we can utilise and learn from. I feel this is one of my strengths (I don’t have many…humour me!) as I think it goes hand in hand with procrastination! I have an inquisitive mind and cannot accept something at face value; I need to see it, read about it and experience it as much as possible at which point it is only then I will truly feel I have got to grips with it!

literally take every opportunity to learn and not just on placement (although whispering to a consultant obstetrician just before she replaced a post c section sutured uterus if I could have quick gander was probably taking it a bit far! Maybe asking before she’d scrubbed may have been better especially for the panicky ODP who thought I’d contaminated the sterile area……I hadn’t but that was by pure luck rather than judgement! Lovely consultant showed me the ovaries too………….anyway I digress!).


Whilst out with my youngest son for an eye test going through the usual list of questions with the optician i.e. “family history of glaucoma?” etc etc when suddenly she says “was he a normal vaginal delivery?” Oh my ears & brain suddenly switched from auto pilot to hyper vigilant! “No he was a planned c section…why do you ask?”opticians.jpg

So the (lovely patient!) optician tells me research has shown that babies born by forceps can have residual damage to their eye muscles not detected at birth and it can sometimes not cause any issues until post infancy into early childhood! Oooooh! So what did I do as soon as I got home? Checked out the research! Below is a link to an abstract from a small case series but it just shows that firstly we can find the opportunities to learn in the most unusual situations and secondly how research done can have an immediate impact on practice! How fab! How handy as well that I am just revising for a research exam so the little bit of extra motivation needed to get my head into those books was provided at the opticians! The value of research indeed!:-)





Finally got around to writing a blog about being proactive

IMG_2469Self-motivation is a real skill for life that you’re supposed to possess if not hone at university… However, it’s no secret that a student’s skills of procrastination often experience the real improvement.

Both in placement and in university it is often (unfortunately) down to you to be pro-active and motivate yourself to succeed. Success for a student nurse, however can be measured in many ways.

Success could mean getting good results in your exams or if you struggle with essays it could just be passing them.

Success could mean going and engaging with all of your lectures and seminars or success could mean getting that condescending consultant to say “Thank You or Well done” to you for your hard work.

For me success is having a patient on discharge saying that you made a difference. The first time it happens it’s like a drug, sounds lame, but its true. You have no idea how helpless and scared that patient might of felt and for them to acknowledge that you made that go away, if even for a second, makes you feel a bit a like a superhero.

So when you’re on placement, halfway through a super tiring long-day and you slept in and didn’t have time for breakfast or didn’t sleep well the night before or someone was rude to you and a patient asks for help, you need to be proactive in deciding to consciously be outstanding. Each patient you see, each call you answer, each task you carry out, you need to try and say to yourself “I’m going to do this to the best of my ability for the patient”.

This can apply to revision as well! When you’re getting distracted and your friends are sending you links to videos of sloth’s having a bath on facebook, look at your notes and think about what this revision will do for a patient.


Google “baby sloth bath time” You won’t regret it

In a few weeks time someone with Hypoparathyroidism could come into your ward and because you put your phone on silent and sat and went on revising you know that they could have very weak bones and could be susceptible to fractures so act accordingly. Or you can win a patient’s confidence by being able to identify by name each of their medications and what they treat, immediately putting them at ease.


Telling a patient that you’re just a call bell away and really meaning it can be so comforting

Often when you go home you won’t think “I made that patient’s bed really well after I repositioned her today” but if she’s lying in bed all day the thought she might hold on to is “That lovely student nurse took such care to make sure I wasn’t lying on a rucked up, untidy bed because she knows that can make me sore”. It’s the little things that if you are constantly striving for excellence in your care that patient’s will notice. And when they come to discharge they can look you honestly in the eye and say you were there when I needed you and you cared.

I can’t think of a much more successful day than that.