Thursday, 16 April 2020

A Massive Update

So... seems like I abandoned blogging, and A LOT has happened since I last posted here! Next month I will have been a nurse for 18 months. That seems crazy considering all the jobs I've had (bear with me now haha).

The last time I posted here I was working in PICU. I actually only ended up working there for 5-6 months, for a number of reasons, but the main one was that I was just too homesick with no support network around me! I moved to a new hospital trust in a new city, chose a job in an area I'd never had experience in before, lived by myself in a flat, was long distance with my boyfriend, and didn't have any friends or family in the area. I felt a bit like I'd failed when I decided to quit and come back home, but looking back I think I was being a bit hard on myself - I'd set myself up for a tough start as a newly qualified nurse!

(Although, maybe not as tough as the newly qualified nurses who are currently qualifying during COVID-19... but that's another blog post altogether).

PICU was a great experience though, and I learnt loads. I worked with such a nice team and loved the city, but it just wasn't the right time & circumstances for me. In my future, I can see myself working in PICU again and giving it my all, and spending many years there, but for now I'm very happy where I am (I'll get to that in a few paragraphs). One good thing that came out of me struggling as a newly qualified nurse is that I made a support group on Facebook: Newly Qualified Nurse Support Group, which started off with just me and as of today has 1.6k members and growing! 😊

After PICU I started working in Paediatric A&E in a DGH. A huuuge change of pace, and made PICU seem like a far away and distant world. The team were LOVELY and I enjoy the style of ED nursing, but looking back there were some things that just weren't right for me. For one, I used to find the workload occasionally got too crazy e.g. number of patients compared to the number of nurses on - just two per shift, and there were a few shifts where I was the only A&E nurse for the entire Paeds ED and I'd have 8 in the waiting room, 3 to triage, 3 on beds, and then 1 come in to resus... Whereas my stress in PICU was to do with a steep learning curve, the stress in A&E felt like I was sometimes struggling because of the system. It was a weird contrast in that if my patient went downhill in PICU I would have loads of staff come and support me, and in A&E it was just one nurse (me!) (alongside the doctors of course, and the Paeds Registrars and Consultants were honestly great). And I felt like I coped in the various, stress-inducing situations I found myself in (retrievals, a time-critical neuro transfer...), but that was usually because I relied on the skills I'd picked up in PICU, and sometimes I kind of enjoy working in chaos, but in the end I found a job in something else entirely...

And that's my current job that I'm doing now, as a Band 6 Paediatric Clinical Research Nurse working in London! And it's a pretty awesome job. I applied for the job kind of on a whim, not expecting to get it, and submitted my application literally 20 minutes before the deadline. I didn't even expect to get an interview, so when I got an actual job offer I was a bit shocked haha. But the idea of working in a children's hospital again, being able to learn new skills (I've never seen it as de-skilling, although that was definitely hinted at by some of the doctors/nurses I told in A&E before I left), have great support and an amazing team and matron, and the Monday-Friday 9-5 life... is amazing, right now.

Obviously, things have gone a bit pear-shaped recently, for all of us. I'll talk about that some more in a future post, as well as what working as a research nurse is like, but for now, I'll leave it at that and I'll post again soon (for real this time - I'm socially isolating for another week, so I have no excuses...).

(Come say hi to me on twitter! The username isn't quite right but hey: @StaffNurseDani).

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