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Nursing

Student Nurse Placement Hairstyles

Today I am going to talk through some Student Nurse Placement Hairstyles.

Being stuck in a starchy baggy uniform for 12 hours in a day really didn’t do wonders for my self confidence when I was a student. I often found myself feeling frustrated by the lack of individuality the dress code of being a nurse allows.

I still think it is an ongoing issue how nurses are confined to a stiff uniform but doctors aren’t. You can read about the inequality and historical significance of the dress codes between Doctors and Nurses Here.

Expressing individuality as a nurse is more difficult than a regular job with a Smart dress code! The only 2 things you can really choose to style whilst still adhering to uniform are shoes and hair. Read about my opinion on the Best Nursing Shoes for Placements Here.

This brings me to the point of this post, which is 5 of the Best Student Nurse Placement Hairstyles.

All of these hairstyles keep your hair off the collar which is what most Nursing uniform dress codes require.

The Stylish Low Bun with Symmetrical Clips

Student Nurse placement Hairstyles
Couple the hair style with the small pair of hoop earrings (I would remove the large earrings that are pictured here).

This hair style is one of my favourites and definitely the hairstyle I wear most often to work.

The low bun gives you an air of chic and I think it’s quite a utilitarian modern working woman look.

The symmetrical clips suit this the best and couple with a pair of tiny hoop earrings (so you don’t obviously violate any uniform guidelines).

Student Nurse Placement Hairstyles 2

The reason I like this look is because it doesn’t matter how greasy your hair is- it is always pull offable and it’s so quick and easy.

The High Pony.

Again, another easy hair style.

This one is good for when I want to instill confidence. It looks put together and quite preppy.

Pair it with a delicate hair band to go with and style some bits of hair around your face.

The Low Space Buns

Even though going to actual festivals seem like a distant memory, with this work-place-adaptation on the fabulous festival favourite you’ll at least be remembering the good times whilst you suffer at work 🙂

To achieve this look simply part your hair in two and tie them in seperate low buns. As they don’t have to hold the same tension that top of the head buns hold, you can use any style of bun. I tied mine in a simple loop through.

Tip: tie the buns close to your head to achieve a hold that will keep for longer.

The Not-Too Messy Bun

The next option on the student nurse placement hair style list is easy, practical and is perfect for low effort days.

This is the Not-too-messy Bun. There are many ways to achieve the perfectly imperfect messy bun. I find the easiest and most effective way to do it is as follows:

Collect your hair in one hand, whether this is by brushing it back in a slicked back look or keeping the parting of your hair and collecting it at the back.

Twist your hair until it circles around itself.

Tie with a bobble and add a scrunchie! You can then pull out a few strands.

Double French Plaits

This is a more time consuming hair style, however I would recommend it for when you have 2 shifts in a row because I am of the opinion that you can sleep with them in.

It also means that when you do take them out, your hair is very voluminously wavy.

Wondering which shoes are the best for Student Nurse Placements? Read the article here!

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Nursing

Student Nurse Placement Shoes

Today I will address arguably one of the hottest topics in healthcare: What are the best student nurse placement shoes?

Are you a student nurse preparing for your first placements? or have you just started a nursing course and want to have everything ready for nursing school? Preparing for placements is daunting, you have to consider what shoes to wear, what books to buy and what nursing essentials you need with you.

Student Nurse Placement Shoes

Whilst it seems like a lot to think about at first, you’ve come to the right place. This post will help you decide what student nurse placement shoes will work best for you. Allowing you to start your first placement with the confidence of knowing that you look smart in the right outfit for the job. Shoes will be ranked out of 5 for comfort, value for price and look.

Uniform Policies

Nurse shoes need to be black, closed toe and wipeable. All of the shoes mentioned here will fit into these categories.Therefore, they most likely will fit the uniform specification for all University Nursing courses and Nursing jobs.

Clarks Unloops

student nurse placement shoes
Clarks Unloops £69

Comfort

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Value

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Look

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I cannot tell you how often I heard the word ‘unloops’ whilst I was at Uni. For some reason, in my cohort of nursing students, unloops were THE shoes. It felt like everyone in my year had them. I blame this on the nursing Facebook group we were all a part of which was responsible for the biggest spread of misinformation in the entire degree. Anyway, the shoes. Clarks Unloops are comfy and very, very durable. My shoes lasted 4 years which now that I think about it I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I kept these eye sores for so long. They are also Leather which definitely adds to the durability and wipeableness of them. However if you do not use leather there are definitely other options.

Overall:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Dr Martens

Dr Martens Maccy II Patent Leather Mary Janes £60

Comfort

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Value

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Look

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Dr Martens Maccy II Patent Leather Mary Janes. These are the first of two options from Dr Martens that feature in this post. These specific shoes are actually in the kids section but they go up to a size 5 1/2 so will be suitable for lots of nurses! My lovely friend who works in a different A&E took this photo. She says these are better for shifts where she is triaging whereas for when she needs to run around, the Sketchers (below) are better suited.

As they are from the childrens section these shoes are available at a great price and therefore definitely worth the money. The bows are a nice touch and I think they are probably the cutest nursing shoes out there.

Overall Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The next shoes are also docs!

Dr Martens 1461 Mono Smooth Leather Shoes £119

Comfort

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Value

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Look

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dr Martens Polley Smooth Leather Mary Janes. A few of my friends have these shoes. They are long lasting will withstand a lot of wear. I think they are very neutral so they look good however they also look very professional. They are 100% leather as well. One of the more expensive options however they are 100% leather and they are a high quality shoe. They are described as “Edgy school girl rebellion” on the Dr MArtens website so make of that what you will.

Overall Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Reebok Classics

Reebok Classics £64.95

Comfort

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Value

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Look

Rating: 4 out of 5.

These Black reebok classic trainers are very comfy, very reasonably priced, a just a classic trainer. These are my current work shoes and I find they are very bouncy and keep my feet very well supported during a 12 hour shift. Not much more to say apart from they are just an all round favourite! On the Reebok website you can also personalise them by adding your name to them if thats your thing! Reebok also do 20% off when you sign up to their mailing list! 

Overall Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

If you would like more Nurse resources, check out the Nurse Hub!

Having doubts about nursing? Read 5 Reasons to Study Nursing in 2020 to bring back certainty in your career choice!

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Nursing

How to Prepare for Student Nurse Placements

Starting a new student Nurse placement is always daunting! On top of worrying about if you will like it, if they will like you and ‘will it be too hard?’; You also have content with travelling times, worrying about what will be asked of you and if your mentor will be friendly! If you’re feeling nervous and want to know how to prepare for student nurse placements, you’ve come across the right post!

Switching between placements is a constantly test of your adaptability. Its rare to find another job where you are similarly thrown into different work settings and expected to learn and thrive. This is especially difficult when the locations are clinical nursing placements as many health care settings are continuously faced with many other pressures!

This being said, when you finish your last day of your final placement the sense of achievement you will feel will be second to none! The time will absolutely fly by so its really important to make the most out of your placements whilst you have the time to learn as a student. The best way to do this it to prepare, so keep reading to find out how to prepare for Nursing placements so you can start your new rotation with confidence!

5 Ways to Prepare for Student Nurse Placements

Prepare for student nurse placments

1. Practice the Route

When you find out your next placement allocation, use Google Maps or City Mapper to figure out the route. Use the apps to calculate a route that ensures you arrive at least 10 minutes before the shift starts. Shifts can start as early as 07:00! It may sound obvious but make sure you look into how this would work on weekends too, as public transport will be less frequent on these days.

Once you’ve figured out the route it is a good idea to do a test run’ to travel to your placement and figure out where the exact location of your placement is. This is especially helpful if you’re based in a large hospital so that you know exactly where to go on your first day. If you don’t know the area at all and are looking at long travel times, try to think of it as widening your geographical knowledge of the area. The placement will be over before you know it!

You could also ask around to see if anyone else in your cohort has the same placement, so you could do the journey together.

2. Research Topics Relevant to the Clinical Setting

I have worked as a Nurse for 2 years now and yet this is something I wish I had done more of as a student! Researching can involve a quick google of the area of care the placement involves.

Brush up on keywords and go over your Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) notes that you have for that area. It absolutely won’t take as long as you think it will.

A little bit of pre reading will give you so much more preparedness for what you will encounter on the placement. For example, knowing the common Cardiac drugs, their uses and contra indications will mean the meds rounds on a Cardiac ward will easy! It will also help with revision of your A&P/Pharmacology subjects for future exams and your future job!

3. Bring the Right Equipment

Its important to have the right equipment with you, on the day, to prepare for student Nurse placements.

  • Bring at least 2 Black Pens with you.
  • A Fob Watch is also a necessity for counting respirations accurately whilst recording observations. (An important job as a student nurse, as no one else does it).
prepare for student nurse placements
Important for counting respirations!
  • A Small Notepad is also a very useful item to have on you. This is helpful for when you need to write down a name or contact detail in a rush or want to make notes on something you want to research later.
  • A Pen torch is also important for recording Neuro Observations and a pair of scissors (preferably trauma scissors) are also invaluable in some situations.
  • A Reusable Hot Drinks Cup is a must if you are travelling by public transport to work and need caffeine on the way
Necessary for morning commutes
  • A Water Bottle is necessary to stay hydrated throughout the day. I recommend buying a larger one as you may not have time to fill it up often.
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4. Download the BNF App

This app is by far the fastest and most reliable way to quickly check the contra indications and normal dosage for a drug when you’re at work. It’s also free and works quite well without a connection to wifi or data, which sometimes happens in certain areas of hospitals.

5. Make sure you have the Right Shoes

One of the most important things to sort to prepare for student nurse placements is shoes! Shoes for Nursing placements need to be closed-toed and black. They often benefit from being wipeable if you are in a clinical setting with bodily fluids around such as on a hospital ward. Its also important you choose shoes that are comfy as you will be on your feet for a long time.

Click Here to read about the 5 Best Shoes for Nursing Placements!

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5 Reasons to Study Nursing in 2020

If you’re currently doing A Levels and are thinking about applying to University, I’m here to give you 5 Reasons to Study Nursing in 2020. 

It is undoubtably a very uncertain time in the healthcare field, and the NHS has never featured more in the news than it has in 2020. There have been Nurses heralded as heroes, Nurses protesting and Nurses dying. This definitely makes considering a career in Nursing a daunting prospect. 

Additionally, when talking though your University options at college or sixth form, many people struggle to understand why anybody would want to study to be a Nurse! Especially to work in the NHS at the moment. If you’ve found this page because you’re unsure wether nursing is right for you, you’ve come to the right place.

Hopefully reading this list will help inspire you, restore your confidence in pursuing a career you know in your heart you want to do! Here is why studying Nursing in 2020 is still a good idea.

5 Reasons to Study Nursing in 2020

Its Reliable

To say 2020 has been a difficult year would be an understatement. Covid-19 has not only caused tragedies, it has also left us with many uncertainties about the future. Many people working across a broad spectrum of industries are facing job insecurity in addition to economic uncertainty.

However, Nurses never struggle to find work! You can confidently stay assured that whatever place you are at in your life and whatever situation you are in, you will always be able to find a job. This goes for the state of the world and economy too. It is one of the few roles that are absolutely essential to life and society. Your job security is always guaranteed as Nurses.

It’s Broad

I am an A&E nurse who is also a blogger. I also volunteer with Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity as part of the digital marketing team. The options of where Nursing can take you, are quite literally endless. If you finish University and never want to go into a hospital ever again? You don’t have to! You could work in a private clinic! Ever thought of starting your own business? Many Nurses train in Aesthetics! Additionally, you could work in an edgy IV bar in Shoreditch! You could be a District Nurse! You can be the Heart Failure Specialist Nurse! 

Whatever interests you hold in your personal life, there is no doubt you could find a job within Nursing that inspires you every day. (Think Sepsis Nurses, Palliative Care Nurses, Cruise Ship Nurses, GP Clinic Nurses etc etc etc I could go on forever!).

It’s Rewarding

No one would try to claim that being a nurse is easy. However, in terms of making a difference you can’t really top it. The job is challenging, especially when you have to juggle many priorities at the same time. However, as you gain experience, you will feel your confidence growing. There will be some days when you just KNOW you’ve smashed it?! and that’s a great feeling.

Travel

You have freedom to travel anywhere in the world. This point ties in with the first point. However I thought it deserved a special mention. If you train in the UK, the Registration is internationally recognised as one of the best Nursing qualifications in the world! This means if you want to move to Australia and earn £60,000 a year? The job. Is in. The bag.

Progression

Many people go into nursing with the immediate intention of progression. The starting salary of a band 5 RN in the UK is now £24,907. If you are willing to dedicate a few years to your career there are many progression opportunities within nursing, allowing you to increase your salary if thats one of your aims! Due to staff shortages many jobs offer guaranteed progression pathways within 1-2 years as an incentive to retain staff. I myself know people who are motivated and exceptionally good at their job who become Managers and specialist Nurses within a few years of qualifying.  

Student Nurse? Check out the Nursing Hub for more Nursing resources!

Here is what I learned in 6 months of being a Newly Qualified Nurse!

5 reasons to study nursing
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Nursing

NHS London Nursing Protest

London Protesting as a Nurse in the NHS

On the 8th August myself and hundreds of other health care workers engaged in an NHS London Nursing Protest. the March took place from St James’s Park and walked to Number 10 Downing Street. The purpose of the march was mainly securing a 15% pay rise for Nurses within the NHS.

A pay rise been an issue in the front of Nurses and healthcare workers mind’s since it was announced that hundreds of pubic sector workers were getting a payrise. However, nurses were left out of this post Covid ‘Thank you’, leaving many nurses feeling like we had been ‘stabbed in the back’.

In the spirit of protesting, many issues affecting the NHS were addressed. This included many recent tragedies such as the death of NHS workers and PPE shortages. Other things mentioned were NHS cuts, staff shortages and difficult working conditions. I myself was carrying a banner with my friend and colleague saying “Overworked Underpaid”. Half of the banner appears in headline news stories.

Messages

“Torys Lied, Nurses Died”

A chant heard on the day

One of the popular chants heard in the march included “Torys Lied, Nurses Died, Now its Time to Turn the Tide”.

The protest was very powerful, many nurses and healthcare professionals turned up in scrubs. I unfortuately did not plan ahead enough to collect scrubs for the occasion. Thankfully, many of the nurses there today had clearly been planning ahead for the day. When I arrived at my hospital to join the other nurses, the lead gave everyone a sheet with the words to the chants to learn and use

My favourite to chant was “1,2,3,4,5 Keep our NHS alive”. The main chant of the day was “What do we want? 15%! When do we want it? Now!”. Chanting was an important factor in the NHS London Nursing Protest.

Strikes?

A not so surprising factor of the day was the mention of nursing strikes in the future. Strikes were mentioned in some of the chants. In Particular, “What do we want? Pay rise. How do we get it? Strike!”. As I don’t hold any further information on this I can’t comment on any further plans of action and I don’t wish to perpetrate rumours.

If Nurses were to strike?

It wouldn’t be the first time members of the NHS have gone on strike. In 2016 Junior Doctors held a strike to oppose the imposition of new contracts, which reclassified the ‘working week’ to include weekend and late evening working. This was preceded by a protest 3 months prior.

Union Representation

There was strong representation present from Unite and from Unison. However I did not see or feel as though there was much RCN representation present. This could have been from where I was standing though as I was near the front.

Im ironically having to rush writing this as I have a 12 hour shift tomorrow (third in 4 days). It really drives home how important it is to fight for these issues facing our workforce.

Read A&E Covid-19 Story Here

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Lifestyle Nursing Self Care

July Must-haves

Today marks the start of July! From July 4th there will be new liberties such as pubs and hairdressers being open in the UK! As July has so much change and excitement to offer I would like to share some of the purchases, including masks, fashion and art, that I have enjoyed recently and (in my opinion) are worth investing in for the coming month! These are my July Must-haves!

Must-haves: Fashion

  1. To begin, my first July Must-have is the face covering I have bought from Etsy. After researching online for a cotton face mask I found the delivery times for most masks are delayed. Most of them stating they will be take over 10 days to be delivered. As we all know it is now mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport so I didn’t have long to wait. This option from Aliciasgiftstore on Etsy came through perfectly.
  • Next, is a t-shirt generously sent to me by Fezshirts. The soft white tees are comfy and perfect for chilling summer vibes. I like this tee because it also recognises and thanks key workers who can often by overlooked whilst NHS staff see more of the appreciation. Here is a photo of myself in the tee
picks of the week

Must-haves: Art

Moving onto Art, this month I have particularly enjoyed a print I purchased from Drawfor.

Drawfor is a non profit platform which raises money for a selection of causes by producing limited editions of prints that artists have drawn for various causes. I bought this print to support their #ThankyouNHS campaign, where 100% of the profits go to NHS charities together.

Picks of the week #thankyounhs print
#ThankyouNHS print by Daisy Bernard

Their latest campaign focuses on Equality and has a gorgeous selection of prints where the profits will support Stand up to Racism.

This is one of my favourite prints in support of Stand up to Racism (Artist Marco Oggian) and I think will be my next purchase.

Must-haves: Plants

The final item in my July Must-haves is a plant mister. As we get into summer, a mister is a great way to moisten the leaves and the soil of a plant which does not require very frequent watering, such as succulents, cacti, rubber plants etc.

I bought this one from LisaAngel

Plant Mister July Must-haves
Plant Mister

Importantly, it also works well for a top up, to nourish the leaves between regular watering, for Ivy’s and Cheese plants.

plant mister 2 July must-haves
Plant care is Self Care!

I hope this is a helpful guide for what to buy this July!

Click here for how to do a homeshoot!

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Lifestyle Nursing

Top 10 Motivational Songs for your Journey to work

Dragging your body to a shift on less than 6 hours sleep that you really wish you didn’t have to go to? Been there. Here are the top 10 motivational songs your journey to work that I would recommend listening to if you need a real moral-boosting-you-got-this feeling to tackle the next 12 hours. To summarise, the songs are arranged to start with gentle motivation and slowly progress until you’ll be so pumped off adrenalin you’ll be ready to face the next Karen who tries to have a go at you. Spotify link to this playlist here: 

The Playlist

The Songs

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty 

To gently ease you into a motivated mindset I recommend I Won’t Back Down as the first song on your commute.

It’s My Life – Dr. Alban 

Slightly more upbeat – a strong second track on the commute. This song perks me up, it’s very useful for when someone asks you why you didn’t train to be a doctor instead.

One Way or Another – Blondie 

This song really puts me in the ‘I can achieve anything and i’m fabulous ??? mood’

Paper Planes – M.I.A.

Moving onto the next track- This song by M.I.A. is just an all round banger tbh, its not too adrenalin stimulating but still upbeat enough to perk you up for work.

Galvanize – The Chemical Brothers

Next, we have one of the more relaxing Chemical Brothers songs. However, it works to slowly increase the energy levels as the playlist develops

Savage – Megan Thee Stallion

Perfect for the pre-work confidence boost!

Survivor – Destiny’s Child

This song should remind you that you can survive anything the shift has to throw at you!

212 Azealia Banks ft Lazy Jay

Upbeat, fast-paced – Just like your 12 hour nursing shift!

9. Pump It – Black Eyed Peas

Clue is in the name, really just a great song to pump you up!

Lastly, we move onto the Kanye song. Above all, this song has a certain focused energy, perfect for the start of a shift.

10. POWER – Kanye West

If this song doesn’t make you feel like you can do anything – what will?

Hope you enjoy these top 10 Motivational Songs for your journey to work and feel like you can face whatever work throws at you after listening to this power playlist!

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Nursing

A&E Covid 19 Story Week 10

Covid-19 and BAME Inequality.

Previously, I have talked about the gender inequalities that wearing scrubs has exposed within the healthcare system. This weeks post there will be a wider focus on Covid-19 and BAME inequality. 

Recently, the murder of George Floyd, a 47 year old Black man, has been brought to the attention of the public eye. Footage has been shared of the (now charged) police officer kneeling on George’s neck. This happened for 9 minutes, whilst he begged for his life and can be heard saying “I can’t breathe”. This event lead to the murder of the 47 year old. This tragic death is an unforgivable casualty of police brutality and systematic racism.

A Subject People Find Difficult to Address

Firstly, it is undoubtably a difficult subject to address. It is extremely important to talk about, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be. Secondly, its important to address the leading voices on the matter Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi (Founders of the Black Lives Matter movement). Finally, I can only speak from my own expertise and experiences. Therefore, I wanted to make this next post about something I am very familiar with. Concluding this, this post will be (as you might have guessed) about Covid 19!

Covid-19 and BAME Britons

This week I would like to talk about how BAME Britons have a disproportionate mortality rate from this virus. This is twice the risk of death according to the ONS. This is a health inequality that needs addressing.

Whilst we are in the middle of the pandemic with a virus that has many victims (including young and usually health people) many people seem to think its unimportant to focus on specifics such as who is more affected. However, as the affects of the virus have unrolled across the UK, it has become ever more pressingly apparent that people from ethnic minority backgrounds are disproportionately dying from the Corona Virus. Out of the 200 health workers who have died in the UK from Covid 19, 60% of the people were BAME.

It has never been more important to collect, study and distribute the findings from a health crisis. To look into who is disproportionately affected by it and what we can do to minimise this public health inequality. In summary It is not ok to place unequal value on the lives that have been lost during this pandemic and its time we addressed it. 

On the 10th May there were calls for a public enquiry into this issue. 70 public figures (including London Mayor Sadiq Khan) signed a letter to the Prime Minister demanding transparency into this matter. Public Inquiry’s are important for safety, education and can lay foundations for future policy makers and research. An inquiry could help employers make appropriate allocation decisions based upon risk assessments increased safety for staff.

Risk assessment for BAME NHS staff

Gal-dem.com outlines excellently why there is a need for an independent public inquiry into this.

Moving on from the public inquiry, here are other recent and relevant pieces of news.

Firstly the first news story I will mention is, The tragic death of Belly Mujinga. A woman who lost her life 2 weeks after being spat on by a man claiming he had the Corona Virus whilst working her essential role at London Victoria station. 

Additionally, The tragic death of Trevor Belle a 61 year old taxi driver who died 3 weeks after being spat at by one of his passengers.

What you can do

Firstly, for people living in London who want to support communities in the capital.

Similarly, for people who want to volunteer:

Moreover, if you can donate money to support memorial services for BAME families, bereaved because of Covid-19

Additionally, if you can sign a petition supporting a public inquiry into BAME loss of life to Covid:

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Nursing

Post Covid Complications: A&E Covid 19 story Week 9

This week I will be addressing post Covid complications. I think I looked after the first (known) patient at my hospital with post viral delirium due to Covid. It was a rather scary experience as the patient, who will remain anonymous, was usually healthy/non-elderly. Delirium is a dangerous condition in which a persons mental state is altered. This means people can be confused, disorientated, aggressive, restless, incoherent and/or unengaged. Delirium can be due to infection, sepsis and pain. It can also be from other reasons like hypoxia, recent extubation etc. Despite the cause, it is most likely always a sign someone is unwell.

In this particular situation, the patient was experiencing delirium as a viral complication due to a previous infection of the Corona Virus. Delirium is very serious and it can lead to an increase in the chance of mortality. It can also mean patients hurt themselves and do not tolerate treatment interventions they desperately need, such as cannulas, IV fluids, IV antibiotics and oxygen that they may need to reverse the delirium! My patient was being violent, throwing things around the room, trying to turn on the defibrillator in the room and spitting at staff. They needed to be sedated in best interest i.e. for cooperation in care so they were not a danger to themselves and would tolerate the treatment.

More Post Covid Complications

Other post covid complications I have noticed is many patients attending the emergency department with chest pain. When this happens the patient has blood tests, ECGs and chest Xrays (the appropriate investigations). If diagnostic test results show the persons life isn’t in danger from things like an MI (heart attack) or a PE (blood clot in the lungs) or severe sepsis/pneumonia/covid etc affecting the body; and the persons observations are stable i.e. oxygen saturation levels adequate without supplementary oxygen, then the person will be discharged. The doctors inform these people, who experienced Covid a few weeks/months ago that they are experiencing pain from the effects Covid has had on their lungs and it could take weeks to months to resolve. 

I have also encountered many patients who are experiencing Covid 19 symptoms saying ‘do you get many people with Covid in this hospital?’, and are worried about catching it in hospital when it is most likely they already have it. Many patients are also wearing gloves, touching their phone, using public transport and touching their face with the same gloves. Thus causing much cross contamination. The importance of following guidelines such as hand-hygiene is important to note here for infection prevention and control.

Innovation within the NHS

Covid has necessitated a lot of innovation within the NHS. Rapid Covid test swabs are one of the newest pieces of innovation I was excited to see rolled out. A limited number of these are now available in some A&Es for testing for patients who fit a tight criteria. For example, for patients who are at risk of becoming particularly unwell from the Corona Virus and need to be ‘shielded’ from Covid in hospital. This includes people who are immunocompromised, have diabetes or may be on chemotherapy.

Ideally, these patients need to be in a ‘non covid area’. The difficulty lies when these people need to be admitted to wards. However, they have presented with symptoms in which Covid cannot be ruled out as the cause of their illness. They also could have post covid complications. Therefore these people cannot go to wards where they could potentially pass Covid 19 onto other people. There is also a limited number of side rooms available in the hospitals as most of them are already occupied by similar patients.

Testing

The Rapid Covid swab machine technology is helpful here. As it results in 1 hour, it can dictate if patients are suitable to go to a Covid/Non-Covid area. This saves from breaches in A&E. (Find out what a breach is here)

There has also been the opportunity to have asymptomatic testing for all patient facing staff in the trust. Thus, allowing data collection on Covid 19 prevalence among healthcare staff without symptoms. This means preventing staff working with high risk patients such as on chemotherapy/cancer wards unknowingly spreading Covid to vulnerable patients. If any of the asymptomatic staff test positive for Covid they are to follow self isolation protocols as usual. There is also the opportunity for me to take part in a vaccine trial if I wanted to! I am not taking part in this trial however I am excited to hear more about it. Especially since it is beginning to look like social distancing will continue until a vaccine is found. So I am very much hoping there will be scientific advancements regarding vaccines quickly!

Antibody Testing

Antibody tests are another thing I am eager to try. I had Covid symptoms in early February. However this was before it was prevalent in the UK and I really want to know if I have had the Corona Virus or not as knowing this would make me feel less worried about catching Covid at work.

In conclusion, as we approach the 10th weekly #ClapforCarers this Thursday I think it is important to reflect on what the NHS has achieved during these times. I have seen an incredible amount of innovation and change in the past few months and I am incredibly in awe of everyone who made it happen and adapted to it so well.

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Nursing

Scrubs and Inequality: A&E Covid 19 Story Week 8

Week 8: Scrubs and the Inequality Beneath

Today I am going to address something that has come to light due to Covid 19 which I believe deserves addressing, scrubs and inequality.

If you ask people who work in healthcare if they enjoy wearing scrubs, the majority of nurses (myself included) would say they prefer scrubs to the usual uniform as they are far comfier. Historically people adopted scrubs as they began to realise the importance of a clean surgical environment. Since then, in England it is my understanding that most nurses wear a uniform. The exception to this would be surgical/recovery nurses and nurses in some emergency departments. However, due to the Covid 19 pandemic most staff members who work in hospitals are now wearing scrubs. This is for infection prevention and control reasons – to prevent staff members bringing the harmful virus particles home and on public transport on their clothes. 

Pre-Covid-19

In a time before Covid, nurses, physios, health care assistants, domestics and porters wore a uniform whilst doctors seemed to be the exception to this rule. It seems doctors had the choice between wearing their own (smart) clothes or scrubs. This means doctors wear suits/dresses or ‘professional’ clothes whilst working on a ward, despite having contact with bodily fluids.

Whilst there is the argument there to say that doctors are involved in less direct patient contact than the nurses; it does not explain why it is suitable for a doctor to do a rectal exam in a suit with a thin plastic apron on whilst the nurses who hold clinics or research studies are still required to wear a uniform.

Guidelines

The Department of Health published guidelines known as the ‘bare below the elbow’ guidance. It also outlines the three objectives when it comes to what health care professionals should wear. To summarise these are: Patient safety (ie infection prevention and control), Public confidence (clean/professional workwear) and Staff comfort (I.e., cultural practises). Reviewing this guidance, I cannot see any reason there should be differences between what doctors and nurses should wear whilst at work. 

Now I may be mistaken here, but I believe the contradictions present in these rules date back to a time, pre Florence Nightingale. A time when doctors were the Professional staff members who held a degree and nursing was an uneducated profession. Hippocrates who is widely regarded as the father of western medicine, claimed doctors should be “clean in person [and] well dressed”.

I believe that due to nursing being a ‘pink collar’ job i.e. a profession held mostly by females (89% in the UK) there is a long withstanding lack of respect and recognition for the level of education and professionalism required nowadays in the nursing profession. 

Hierarchy

Sadly, there is a very intense hierarchy present in healthcare. Anyone who doesn’t work in healthcare probably couldn’t grasp just how tangible that hierarchy feels sometimes. I have seen some people disregard people in job positions such as health care assistants, domestics and student nurses. I was actively terrified of doctors when I was a student nurse which I now realise was ridiculous. Obviously, most organised workforces involve a hierarchical structure. However, this is a problem when it means people feel that they are less important than others. I find uniforms to be an important reflection of hierarchy. 

What about now?

Nowadays, an RN requires a Bachelors degree. Additionally, nurses register to a professional body, the NMC. The discipline of nursing also encompasses many advanced roles such as Advanced Nurse Practitioner’s and specialities i.e. Heart Failure Nurse. Many of these professionals take an active roles in the Medical team. They often prescribe, advise and consult – skills attributed historically solely to doctors. Many nurses also take on a senior roles in the hospital and community settings as matrons, managers and coordinators etc. So, yes it did raise a bone of contention when I saw an Advanced Nurse Practitioner wearing a uniform whilst the doctor holding the same clinic in the room next door did not. This prompted me to write this post – scrubs and inequality.

Going back to the present day, everyone, despite their role is wearing scrubs. Whilst this is more confusing and this practice will not last, I think we can all learn a lesson from this. Nurses and Doctors deserve equality in their uniform or non uniform policies.