Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Getting on with it

Strange green plant with zigzag leaves
National Botanic Garden of Wales, May 2013
I left you at the end of induction, and I have now been in the Diabetes department for a few days. I wasn't expected to start clinics straight away, although I did see a patient on day 2, which was fine. I really need to get the hang of what patient information I can give out, and find out where things are in the building and in the hospital. There is a meeting scheduled with the three other Diabetes Dietitians in the Trust, who are based at the other hospital and in the community, and I am hoping to get a better picture from them of how the service operates.

The hospital where I am working is pretty small. It doesn't have an Emergency Department, maternity, or paediatric intensive care, for example. There is a walk-in centre for 'urgent' cases, but anything needing proper hospitalisation will go to the big hospital where I used to work, so it is unlikely that I will see many newly diagnosed diabetic patients. I have met the two Dietitians who cover the five wards in the hospital, and my manager has suggested that I may need to help out on the wards from time to time. I have made it clear to all involved that while I would be very happy to chip in when times are tough, ward work is something I would very much like to keep to a minimum.

The hospital was first opened at the end of the 19th century, although obviously it has been modified since then. The Diabetes department is in a separate building on the site and was built within the last ten years, so it is pretty modern. I have a whole big room to myself, with adjustable heating and a window! I am quite excited about the things I can do now that I have somewhere to store resources in the same room as seeing patients, although I am not the only one to use the room so I can't make it exclusively my own. The main thing it lacks is a table so that I can draw and write easily during consultations - at the moment the desk faces the window and we can't sit around it.

There are just two Diabetes Specialist Nurses (DSNs) based there, along with a clinical Support Worker and some admin staff. Doctors come and go, and there is a big meeting room where we all have lunch and where courses are held. It is so light and airy compared to the cupboard off the hospital corridor where I spent the past year. The Dietitians I am replacing are long gone, and the room had accumulated a whole lot of stuff, so I have started to sort through the legacy and dispose of old and irrelevant material, keeping some things that look like they might be useful.

Lastly, commuting to and from work takes 30 minutes, but the sort of 30 minutes that is almost a pleasure to drive. It avoids all the bottlenecks, is mostly through countryside with farms and animals, A and B roads but no motorways, and once I've left Leamington there is only one set of traffic lights. I'm almost looking forward to the journey!

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