Sunday, 19 February 2012

Working life

Deserted hospital corridor stretching into the distance
Hospital corridor, 2012
The week ended well, even though I made the slight error of seeing my last patient in a ward that didn't have a clock, so I was late home on Friday. Then straight out for another badminton match, which we won. This full time work lark really leaves no time for much else, especially because this weekend we went south for visits to family and friends (I shall blog about that trip in due course). There is just NOT ENOUGH TIME.

As promised, however, here's some dietetic news, although it's still all about admin because I'm not risking writing about patients except in the most general terms. Believe me, I'm spending a lot of time seeing patients on wards as well as all this other stuff. I'll probably describe the job in more detail at some point.

Despite claiming to have finished all the necessary shopping for clothes, I had to do a bit more. This was because of the 'bare below elbows' rule on the wards, which is supposed to facilitate hand-washing and reduce risk of hospital-acquired infection. So now I've got a few more short-sleeved tops, and a serious problem with static when walking about the corridors. I now have the list of ingredients of the alcohol rub, but no answer from the Infection Prevention and Control department telling me what I should do about the fact that it contains one of the allergens that I react to.

My workplace is a brand new hospital built with the aid of PFI (Private Finance Initiative) money, whereby the capital funding to build the hospital came from the private sector. This means that there are some very hard-nosed commercial aspects to the infrastructure, like parking. Both patients and staff have to pay to park, and there is a waiting list for staff permits that is ranked by need and priority - on-call and night-shift staff along with people with disabilities are much more likely to get permits than perfectly fit Allied Health Professionals who work from 8.30 to 4.30 Monday to Friday. I haven't even bothered to apply for a permit, and I drive for about 25 minutes to a nearby housing estate, park there, and walk for about 15 minutes to the hospital.

This new hospital was built on the same site as the old one, which had a poor reputation in the city. With the new build it acquired a very clunky and long-winded new name, presumably in the hope that it would have the 'Sellafield effect' (when the nuclear reprocessing plant at Windscale acquired a new name in the hope that it would no longer be associated with safety concerns). I have no idea whether this worked, since I hardly know anyone who has needed treatment there except for our neighbours over the road who are going to have their baby there. I visited the old hospital only once, to play a badminton match in a gym with a ridiculously low ceiling.

Since my working day starts at 8.30 a.m., it should be possible to leave home around 7.45 a.m. Unfortunately, that pitches me into the heaviest traffic, so I leave half an hour earlier and spend the time in the hospital library catching up with my online life - emails and blogs and Facebook. I'd rather do that than get up a bit later but spend an extra 20 minutes in traffic. My actual job comprises 80% ward work, one half-day outpatient clinic and a bit of time for admin and professional development. I have been allocated to four wards: stroke, elderly medicine, and two others. Pretty much everything I do is about 'nutrition support' - helping people who can't eat or don't want to eat - through the use of modified menus, snacks, nutritional supplements and tube feeding.

That's all I've got time for at the moment - back to work tomorrow, badminton, work, and then maybe time for a bit more blogging. I'm hoping to put together a picture story similar to the 'Camping holiday - in pictures' post, but covering (among other things) the replacement of the car windscreen on our trip south. Watch this space...


  1. So pleased I have found your blog! I'm going to read THE LOT! lol. Off to uni myself, not too much younger than you - student dietitian too. I am so sure this blog of yours will give me amazing information and insight needed. Thank you so much! I'll treat this as my latest 'book read' until I have finished it :O) x

    1. Best of luck, Louise - although reading ALL of my wordy nonsense may put you off dietetics for life. It may be helpful to use the labels (keywords) that interest you, and you'll avoid all the other stuff about family, friends, camping, badminton, and mucking about with Lola II.

      Keep in touch - email or post comments, or put it all on your own blog! I'll have a look at that now...


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