My favourite places on campus ’17

1. The library is unsurprisingly on the top of my list. To begin with, it is filled with all the books I need (I have not bought a single book for the whole 3 years of my course 😀  *saving money, kind to the environment*). The library is my creative place where most of my coursework gets done. It’s comfortable, warm, modern and well-lit. The staff is really helpful and everything is kept clean and tidy.

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2. Unio is a little heaven for students on a lunch break. There is always something in the hive too to cheer you up after a boring lecture. Just look at those pastries and cakes!

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3. The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is by far the most majestic place to feed your thirsty soul with art. There are events and exibitions happening all the time. Just keep checking for upcoming events and see if you fancy anything. Even The Queen herself popped in recently to see what’s it all about.her_majesty_the_queen_visit_to_sainsbury_centre_for_visual_arts01_website_image_gjlq_standardcourtesy of: Andy Sapey

4. Sportspark is a great place to work out, de-stress and stay healthy. There is a vast majority of sports you can do, from swimming to rock climbing.

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5. The green areas are everywhere to make up for all the concrete buildings. Plus, you get fluffy bunnies hopping around as a bonus. You can enjoy picnic, yoga, jogging around the lake, or a BBQ with friends outside.

What are your favourite places?

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Job hunting

If you’re a final year student like me, you might be wondering when to start applying for jobs and how to nail down the job you want. I would recommended starting to apply for jobs straight after you’ve submitted your dissertation, which is in mid January. Usually, job offers end by the end of March. I do, however, know some people who applied really early in November and got the jobs they wanted. Think well about where you want to work. Is it on a ward? Just any ward? Or would you go for surgery? Or a rotation? Community? Personally, I learned that getting a job in a specialist area, such a Critical Care, Recovery, Theatres and A&E straight away without professional experience is very difficult, hence a rotation would be a great and quick way to start and then move on to a specialist area.

Firstly, start by writing a good convincing CV and uploading it on the NHS jobs website. Then apply for 5 to 10 jobs you like. Once you’ve done that, just wait for an email inviting you for an interview. Remember to wear comfortable formal or semi-formal clothes. I strongly recommend flats as opposed to heels. I recommend you bring your passport and two other documents for them to identify your ID, a calculator and a few pens. On the specified day you might be asked to sit a numeracy and literacy tests, followed by the interview itself. Don’t forget to smile and be yourself.

Secondly, remember to prepare well for the interview. During the interview they will ask you standard questions related to the area you’ve applied for. For example:

  1. What can you bring to our trust?
  2. How flexible are you and how do you feel if we asked you to move and work in a different ward/area?
  3. What are your weaknesses?
  4. Give us an example when you’ve ‘walked the extra mile’ to ensure that the patient’s wishes were respected.
  5. What would you do if a doctor told you to put Marmite on a patient’s wound? (Yep, I got that question on one of my interviews :P)
  6. What would you do if you found a patient laying on the floor in the bathroom?
  7. What would you do if you found an extra swab in a packet of 5 swabs during a surgery? (surgery related)
  8. What would you do if at your final count a swab was missing? (surgery related)
  9. What would you do if one of your patients deteriorated quickly, had tachycardia, hypotension, a chesty cough, clammy skin and pyrexia? (critical care/A&E related, think sepsis,guys!)
  10. How accommodating are you towards people from different  social, religious and cultural backgrounds?
  11. How do you deal with stress?
  12. What are the values of our trust?

The list only goes on, however, remember to always stop and think for a second before answering. Be honest and give a relevant answer that answers the question fully.

Finally, ask them any questions you have. Remember that as a newly-qualified nurse you are in no position of bribing, however, you need to remember the importance to negotiate, for example, will the salary while you’re waiting for your pin be paid as a band 3 or a band 4, will there be a 2, 3, or 6 month preceptorship, how long will you be allowed to be supernumerary, for how many patients will you be expected to look after if you start on a ward (no more than 8!!!), are there rotations available and so forth.  After the interview wait for an official letter to arrive in your mailbox saying: ‘Congratulations, you’ve just nailed the job!’

Good luck everyone!

A day in the life of a scrub nurse

I have one week left to spend in emergency theatres and my 12-week placement is close to its end. Scrub nursing initially sparked my interest in year one, when I spent two week in orthopaedic theatres watching hip and knee replacements all day, every day. In module 5 we were asked which area we would like to have our placement in and I immediately knew I wanted to go back into theatres.

Emergency theatres provide 24/7 care to emergency and obstetric patients. The shift pattern in emergency theatres varies. For example, shifts can be: 0730-1800, 1230-2115, 1800-0200, 2100-0800  and cover weekdays, weekends and bank holidays. The majority of the shifts I did were 0730 until 1800.

I arrived at 0725 and went to changing room to put scrubs on along with a green hat (green for student) to keep my hair away. I look a little bit like a boy 😀

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Then I went to the theatre where I met my mentor. We checked the cases on the emergency list and familiarized ourselves with the plan for the day.  In the morning we do a lot of routine cleaning and stocking. We prepare the surgical sets along with the extra bits and bobs (sutures, extra instruments, etc.) each surgeon prefers for their case. Once the first patient was brought in to the anaesthetic room I began to scrub up for a plastics case (repair of lacerated tendon on hand). Scrubbing up involves washing my hands thoroughly in a specific way for about 5 min, then putting a mask, gown and gloves on. I normally end up looking something like this:

 

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I then moved close to my sterile field and began organizing my trolley with all the surgical instruments. The role of the scrub nurse is quite different from the traditional nurse on a ward. The scrub nurse is responsible for ensuring patient safety checks have been done, maintaining the sterility of the field and count all sharps, swabs and instruments before and after the operation, ensuring no foreign bodies have been retained inside the patient. In addition, he/she has to ensure all equipment needed for a case, such as suctioning, diathermy, camera, flush, etc. is working properly. The scrub nurse will also assist the surgeon with prepping and draping, handling surgical instruments and removing excess instruments from the sterile field. It is vital to focus on what the surgeon is doing and wait for signals on what he/she might need next. At the end of a procedure all safety checks and relevant documentation must be completed.  Sharps should be disposed of as per local policy while instrument sets are placed in a disposal hold for collection after all instruments have been counted correctly. The patient is transferred from theatres to recovery where the scrub nurse would hand over the care.

Surgeries can last from a few minutes to a few hours. Theatres are cleaned by staff between each surgery and preparation for the next case begins. Normally after a surgery you will have a break when you can have your lunch.In the afternoon surgical cases will continue while staff will rotate as either being scrubbed up or circulating, while others will be relieved for breaks. At the end of the day the whole theatre will be cleaned and staff will stock up.There is great skill mix within surgical theatres, hence it’s a dynamic and exciting environment to work in.

 

Sorry, for the wait..

 It’s been a long while since I have posted. I was busy writing my dissertation and doing full-time placement at the same time. Currently, I’m in module 5 and have two weeks of placement (in Emergency theaters) left. From now on, I will give my best to post regularly as usual, after regaining my inspiration and normal life back.

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In early December I started applying for jobs. The very first hospital I applied at invited me to an interview, and after passing the numeracy and literacy test I was turned down because I lacked experience, regardless of the fact that they knew I’m a student qualifying in 2017. It was a disappointing, yet valuable experience for future interviews to come. I am hopeful that I will find a job in a specialist area even without the experience a lot of hospitals desire. I am interested in one-to-one care and cannot imagine myself working on a ward looking after 13-18 patients.

Soon after, in January, I submitted my dissertation. It was a dreadful and daunting task but I managed to write over 7, 500 words and submit it 30 minutes before the deadline. 😀 Phew.. I didn’t proofread it properly, hence, a few typos make me a bit worried about my result, however, I keep reassuring myself that ‘done is better than perfect!’ I am yet to find out what my result is.

At present, I am in the process of writing my 3, 000 words reflection essay based on my learning from placement and I have less than two weeks left to finish it. This piece of work is formative, hence it is less stressful to write compared to the dissertation.

I am also still applying for jobs and seeking opportunities in specialist areas in London. It is the place I want to move to and live in the near future. Wish me luck because I need it! 😛

Massive thanks goes to my lovely husband who kept me sane through these rough winter months!

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