Thursday, 18 October 2012

Dietetics and more

Purple flowers against a red brick wal
Sissinghurst, June 2012
Events move apace in the Dietetic department, while I blog about inconsequential matters like my reading habits and creatures made from meat and pasta. There has been laughter! tears! patients! clinics! and a few interesting developments.


We have swapped wards again. If you have been following the saga since the beginning, I started with the stroke and elderly wards, followed on with respiratory and urology wards, and now have cardiac rehabilitation and neurology. Next rotation, I may get the orthopaedic and labour wards. Admissions at the start were for reasons of 'general deterioration', then it became 'shortness of breath', and now 'chest pain' or 'headache'. Or I get patients transferred over from Critical Care or the stroke ward. But in the end, patients are just patients and the dietetic treatments they receive are pretty similar, whichever ward they're in. A combination of artificial feeding, nutritional support and frustration.

Neurology and neurosurgery are slightly more gruesome than any of my previous wards. Head injuries and intracranial bleeds are not pretty, and often affect personality as well as physiology. There are loads of new and very obscure abbreviations both in neurology and cardiology, and sometimes even the nurses are a bit vague about what they stand for (I don't tend to bother the doctors with my questions). Strangely enough, I have found the doctors' handwriting is an order of magnitude worse in neuro notes. But the cardiac wards win the prize for the most badly kept folders, to the extent that sometimes it isn't possible to find what the doctors have written over the past days or weeks, or you have to look in three different places to get the full story.


I have been involved in a complaint about treatment received by a patient a few months ago, and had to revisit the notes I took at the time and at the decisions I made and documented. It wasn't too bad, although there's always something to learn. In future, I intend to pay a bit more attention to making sure everything is done as it should be when a patient is discharged home.


You may (or may not) remember that there are three of us 'junior' Dietitians, all on partly or wholly temporary contracts. We are occupying posts that belong to three other Dietitians who have been filling posts left unoccupied by three further Dietitians who are on maternity leave (it's actually not quite as simple as this). Until those latter three decide what they would like to do, and until a plan is agreed by The Authorities, none of us knows what the future holds. There's a further 'senior' Dietitian who is on a temporary contract, filling in for yet another Dietitian on maternity leave, who is my team leader. This temporary stand-in has now found another job and will be moving on in just three weeks' time, leaving a very short term vacancy at quite a senior level.

It is all very complicated, and I may not have explained it very well in the above paragraph, but the immediate upshot is that we will be short of bodies at the coalface very soon, and the Dietetic Manager is taking steps to try and make sure that we will all be able to cope. For a dreadful minute or two, I thought this meant that I would lose my clinic, but a swift reorganisation has restored it to me, albeit on a different day, and I am very relieved. There will still be extra work to do, but I think we will cope.

Job application

I have applied for yet another job, and heard today that I have been offered an interview. Just for a change it is not in the middle of a holiday, although it could have been - Mr A and I and all the family are going away for a week very soon. In the past, this might have disrupted the flow of this blog, but nowadays it will hardly be noticed. The interview is for a job that I would very much like to have, but it is quite a long way away and would involve a significant amount of commuting.

Other news

I have been to London to meet up with children I went to school with (who are now adults with children of their own) and our former clarinet teacher and her husband, who do not seem to have aged in the slightest. Then onwards to Lola II's and Mr M's house where we always intend to do things like go for a walk but end up just mucking around. I can't even remember what we did in the end, but I'm sure it was lovely. Oh yes, we went out for Japanese food, for the first time in ages.

What do points mean?

Yes, I have won another prize from a blog, through the medium of my favourite joke. To see it, you will have to visit this page and look in the comments. I received a bag of Jordans Superfruity Granola, and three Jordans Absolute Nut bars, which arrived last week. I have tried one of the bars (delicious! but 260 calories per bar), but we haven't opened the Granola yet. I'm sure it will be jolly tasty.

Packets of granola and nut bars


  1. That joke was scarcely worth the journey. When's the next competition?

  2. The notes on notes confirm Bernadette's experience: all over the place, and two folders running simultaneously, so neither complete or up to date. But what else can you trust when you are in hospital?

  3. None of the other wards' notes are as bad as the cardiac ones, and some wards keep their notes so beautifully that it's easy to follow the thread.

  4. Jordan Granola joke: Q: Why do cardiac staff not keep their notes in good order? A: Because THEIR heart's not in it.


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