Thursday, 8 March 2012

The rep and the norovirus

Courtyard, Pompeii, 2006
There really is no connection between the rep and the norovirus, they just happened on the same day. The rep came at lunchtime with some sandwiches and snacks, told us about changes to the feeding products from her company that are prescribed in the hospital, gave us some pens and sticky pads, and announced that her maternity leave starts next week. The NHS is no longer allowed to buy pens, and what with writing all day every day and having to write everything at least twice, we get through them like nobody's business. If you're thinking of treating some NHS employees, get them pens. And don't expect to see the same rep twice in a row.

The norovirus hit one area of one of my wards towards the end of last week, and spread to another two areas of the same ward the next day. What with being a very modern hospital, isolation measures aren't too difficult to implement, but when I came to see my patients on that ward I had to take off my outer clothing and put on scrubs. Unfortunately it was towards the end of the day and supplies were running low - I found some trousers that I could hitch up above my waist to the extent that my feet emerged from the lower end, but I was not so lucky with finding a top that did not reach down to my knees. People actually laughed when I emerged into the ward.

The week was pretty good on the whole, and I managed to get my workload slightly more under control. But I learned the hard way about discharging a patient who needs to be enterally fed at home (through a tube into the stomach), by neglecting to make most of the arrangements until after the patient had left the hospital, and then finding out what I should have done beforehand. I was at a further disadvantage because all the people who normally help out with these arrangements were away. It then proved impossible to negotiate the website where I should have ordered feed supplies, so I had to do it the old-fashioned way via a fax, then the supplying firm phoned to say that the feed didn't come in bags of the size that I had ordered... and on it went. The important bits were done, but some was left over for Monday when the essential staff returned and I had to ask for help. I need to make a list for future reference.

In fact, I need to make many lists, and get myself properly organised. I have a desk, two drawers and a shelf to call my own, and the drawers and the shelf are empty while everything that I have been given in the first three weeks is in a single pile on the desk. It is driving me mad. It should be possible to spend a bit of time sorting it all out so I can find things when I want them, but any time I'm in the office I'm worrying about how many patients I haven't seen this week on the wards. It's fewer this week, so that's a good sign.

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