I have been an inpatient recently. I was in hospital for a little over 2 weeks to have a malignant tumour taken out of my face. As well as being an oncology patient, I was also a plastic surgery patient – muscle was taken from my abdomen to fill the cavity.
While I was an inpatient, I couldn’t help observing things:
- Ward nurses lead very regimented lives at work. Medications, dressings, wound care, and countless other things run to a timetable. There is no time for education. If you want to reach ward nurses, find out what times the handovers are and arrange to have training on the ward or nearby then and there.
- Nurses have to read a certain amount of papers to reach CPD goals. Nurses also always have their mobiles with them and they use them for work. Why not combine them and show them how to find articles via mobile?
- Ward rounds with clinicians seem to go faster and faster these days. When I was an inpatient 20 years ago, they were longer but due to more patients and less time overall, many hospitals have restructured ward rounds. When I started doing them in the the Acute Medical Unit at work, there was more time taken and I was asked questions. Then the restructure occurred and no time was given to an educational component. I felt like a spare wheel so I asked a geriatrician how I could contribute in a meaningful way and was invited to take part in the educational lunchtime meetings.
- Clinicians and other specialists also use mobile phones for lots of things. Did you think the flashlight on your mobile phone was pointless? Not to the ENT and plastic surgeons – they turned them on to look inside my mouth!
- Nurses take a lot of crap from some patients. Have you seen those advertisements recently about violence towards healthcare staff? When I was an inpatient, an incident occurred that could have gotten scary. A patient was being more than obstreperous and dragging himself around the corridors. After things had calmed down, I asked the nurses on night duty if they were OK. They looked pleased that I asked. Why not do something nice for your nurses today?
These are little learnings I took on board. I am at home now and undergoing radiotherapy every weekday until August 11. I look forward to doing some more blog posts before I return to work.